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Sci Adv. 2018 Jan 10;4(1):eaao1914. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aao1914. eCollection 2018 Jan.

Adaptation required to preserve future high-end river flood risk at present levels.

Author information

1
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Potsdam, Germany.
2
Institute of Physics, Potsdam University, Potsdam, Germany.
3
Columbia University, New York, NY 10964-8000, USA.

Abstract

Earth's surface temperature will continue to rise for another 20 to 30 years even with the strongest carbon emission reduction currently considered. The associated changes in rainfall patterns can result in an increased flood risk worldwide. We compute the required increase in flood protection to keep high-end fluvial flood risk at present levels. The analysis is carried out worldwide for subnational administrative units. Most of the United States, Central Europe, and Northeast and West Africa, as well as large parts of India and Indonesia, require the strongest adaptation effort. More than half of the United States needs to at least double their protection within the next two decades. Thus, the need for adaptation to increased river flood is a global problem affecting industrialized regions as much as developing countries.

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