Climate change has caused billions of dollars in flood damages, according to Stanford researchers

Jan 28, 2021

Stanford researchers recently conducted a study which sheds light on climate change’s contribution to the rising financial impact of flooding. Published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the research unveiled that intensifying precipitation contributed one-third of the financial costs of flooding in the United States over the past three decades; this totals to about $75 billion of flood damages. Conversations on the financial effects of climate change are not new among insurance companies and government agencies such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. However, lead author Frances Davenport, a PhD student in Earth system science at Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences believes that the new research can directly translate the increase in participation to the increase in the cost of flooding.

Unlike earlier studies aimed at identifying the costly effects of climate change, senior author and climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh states that Stanford’s research “combines rigorous economic analysis of the historical relationships between climate and flooding costs with really careful extreme event analyses in both historical observations and global climate models, across the whole United States.” Further, the research attributes majority of the change in participation to increased participation during the rainiest events of the year, and minorly from new instances of participation. The Stanford research team says that their approach can applied to other natural hazards, in other areas of the world. Additionally, they believe it offers a framework for estimating the future cost of climate change.

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