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expert reaction to Storm Ciarán

Scientists react to news of Storm Ciarán. 


Dr Melissa Lazenby, Lecturer in Climate Change at the University of Sussex, said:

“Current trends in UK storms have not shown significant changes in wind speeds, although there is evidence that more rainfall is resulting from these storms.

“There is consensus from models that the frequency of UK winter storms is projected to increase as well as their associated wind speeds and rainfall. It is also very likely that the intensity of these winter storms will increase, and that rainfall from these events will result in larger impacts such as flooding and larger storm surges alongside the coastal regions.

“The Met Office states that increased winter storms, including disproportionately more severe storms, are projected to cross the UK in the future, with fewer to the north, over Iceland, and fewer to the south, over central and southern Europe. Therefore, research indicates that the UK should expect to see storms more frequently than it is seeing today and such additional adaptation and mitigation measures will be necessary to mitigate their impacts such as flooding and storm surges.”


Dr Michael Byrne, Reader in Climate Science at the University of St Andrews, said:

“Storm Ciarán is expected to cause considerable disruption and damage across the UK over the next 24 hours. The heavy rain is very likely to be linked to climate change: a warmer atmosphere holds more water vapour, so when it rains it rains more. The link between strong winds and climate change is much less clear. There is some evidence suggesting storms like Ciarán will become windier as climate warms, but the jury is out.”


Dr Friederike Otto, Senior Lecturer in Climate Science, Grantham Institute, Imperial College London, said:

“There are a lot of attribution studies and other lines of evidence showing that autumn/winter storms like this are more damaging because of climate change.  That’s because the rainfall associated with these types of storms is more severe due to climate change, and the storm surges are higher and thus more damaging due to the higher sea levels.



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