Question: What are flash floods? Explain the role of climate change in increasing occurrence of flash floods.
Answer: Flash floods are sudden events in which the water levels of rivers and streams increase very fast, causing them to overflow and submerge surrounding areas. Flash floods can also be caused by events such as glacier outburst.
Role of climate change in flash floods
- Drastic pressure changes
Drastic pressure changes due to climate change bring about storms and rain bearing clouds within a short span. This can cause incessant rains.
- Loss of vegetation
Forests and trees help rainwater to percolate into the ground. Due to loss of plants and trees to climate change, soil is discharged into water bodies, causing them to overflow.
- High intensity rainfall
The soil topography and protective infrastructure in many regions are set according to the rainfall observed. Due to climate change, rainfall patterns have changed. This has caused events such as flash floods.
- Glacial melt
Glaciers hold large amounts of debris and water. They are melting faster due to global warming, which can bring flash floods downstream.
Avalanches occur when blocks of ice discharge. The discharge events are natural but can also take place if binding ice melts very fast. This collapsing ice can cause flash floods.
Protection against flash floods
- Accurate prediction
The weather system must be upgraded to make them more accurate. This will allow authorities to predict any future occurrence.
- Survey and maintenance
The basin of river and streams has to be surveyed to identify any flash floods causing agents such as blocks. Anti-corrosion infrastructure has to be developed.
Thus, flash floods are indeed deadly as they can cause large-scale destruction of lives and property. Measures have to be taken to prepare for the worst.