As scientists and media pundits debate human activity’s role in Hurricane Harvey, a new study finds no evidence global warming increased flooding over North America and Europe.
A study published in the Journal of Hydrology found “the number of significant trends in major-flood occurrence across North America and Europe was approximately the number expected due to chance alone.”
In fact, the study only adds to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2013 findings that there’s little to no evidence of increased flooding across the world amid rising temperatures. IPCC findings are regarded as scientific “consensus” by most climate scientists.
“The results of this study, for North America and Europe, provide a firmer foundation and support the conclusion of the IPCC that compelling evidence for increased flooding at a global scale is lacking,” reads the study by an international team of scientists.
The team, led by U.S. Geological Survey scientist Glenn Hodgkins, examined data from hundreds of flood gauges, looking at periods from 1931 to 2010. What they found was flooding was more correlated with decadal natural ocean cycles than long-term global climate change.
“Generalizations about climate-driven changes in floods across large domains or diverse catchment types that are based upon small samples of catchments or short periods of record are ungrounded,” the study found.
The study’s findings support data from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). About 60 percent of locations where the EPA measures flooding show a decrease in “magnitude and intensity since 1965,” according to University of Colorado professor Roger Pielke Jr.
Pielke also found that flood damage has been declining as a proportion of the U.S. economy since 1940 — that way you control for population growth and development.