Flooding is an ever-growing global concern, particularly in the UK. England sustains around £1.5 billion of damage each year from flooding, directly or indirectly, according to a 2015 report by Sayers and Partners, with 1.4 million people living in houses with a 12.5% likelihood of being flooded during a 10-year period.
Use Delugeo to explore UK flooding vulnerability from five perspectives: the global, the natural, the social, the infrastructural, and the personal.
This graph shows global trends using data from archive of large-scale flood events from the Dartmouth Flood Observatory.
Note that whilst the number of floods varies over this time period, the severity (which measures flood extent, damage, and fatalities), has a clear upward trend.
Why are floods becoming more severe socially? Are floods becoming larger or more unpredictable? Are populations becoming more densely populated and less able to cope?
Source: Dartmouth Flood Observatory
Looking at the data by country, the UK has some interesting characteristics. Note the very high average number of people exposed per flood, compared to other countries. However, when it comes to deaths per flood, the UK scores remarkably low, even when compared to OECD countries only - it does not even show up in the bar chart.
Source: Dartmouth Flood Observatory, Global Flood Database
Floods are spatially very unequally distributed. While some parts of the world experience frequent and deadly floods, others are entirely flood-free. To situate flooding in the UK into the global context, use this visualisation to get an overview of all large flood events occuring since 1985 based on data from Dartmouth Flood Observatory. Large flooding events are defined as those inflicting significant damage to structures or agriculture or causing fatalities. The visualisation allows you to see the global flooding trends, zoom in and explore specific flooding events in more detail or select a region and see all the floods that have affected it.
The UK is especially vulnerable to flooding events due to increasing extreme-rainfall events similar to Storm Dennis. MET Office data has revealed that, in 2019, UK rainfall was over double the 1961–1990 average.
According to Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, flooding from surface water flooding (as well as rivers) due to heavy rainfall like this is an ever-growing, unpredictable threat.
Use this tool to explore the trends of extreme rainfall at the regional scale of North Wales over the last 80 years. Note that whilst there is large variation in the trends for individual months, there is a definite increase in extreme rainfall events with all months considered. Though the trend is gradual, a UK climate risk assessment predicts that, if global warming goes unmitigated, the number of people at high risk of flooding could double by the 2050s.