#Europe; #ChangeInFloodPattern; #MostFloodRichPeriods; #MoreFloodsInSummer
Vienna (Austria), Jul 25 (Canadian-Media): The change in the flood pattern for the first time was found over the last decades in Europe compared to past centuries, according to an international research project coordinated by the Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien), with participation from researchers of the University of Barcelona, Spain. The study, published in the journal Nature, concludes we are in one of the most flood-rich periods in Europe from the last five hundred years.
Photograph of the Almanzora River in the town of Huércal-Overa (Almería) in the bridge of Santa Bárbara during the floods between October 18 and 19 in 1973. Photo provided by the Town Hall of Cuevas del Almanzora. Figure: structures still preserved from the bridge of Santa Bárbara built during the 19th century eighties. Image credit: Lothar Schulte/UB
The last three decades within the last half of the millennium, the study said, are among the most important periods regarding the frequency and magnitude of floods in Europe, the distribution of the floods, as well as the temperature of the air and flood seasonality have changed, with a higher percentage of floods in summer.
Whereas from 1500 to 1900, floods used to take place with higher frequency during cold climate phases, while after 1990, floods increased within the context of global warming.
Nine periods of floods that were more abundant and the associated regions were identified after analysis of the data., the most notable periods being 1560-1580 (western and central Europe), 1760-1800 (most part of Europe), 1840-1870 (western and southern Europe), and 1990-2016 (western and central Europe).
The analysis also highlighted that the current phase is the third most severe regarding floods.
Now, floods cause annual damages accounting for more than 100,000 million euros, and the general tendency of abundant floods is increasing.
Historical data from half a millennium
The international study, coordinated by Günter Blöschl, director of the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management in TU Wien with participation of thirty-four research groups from all over Europe, among which are also researchers of the National Museum of Natural Sciences (CSIC Madrid) and the University of Almería (UAL).
In the study, thousands of historical documents with direct and contemporary information on flood episodes in Europe from 1500 to 2016 were analysed by the researchers.
Historical data from Spain and a part of the series in Switzerland was provided by the research teams of the University of Barcelona, CSIC and the University of Almería, which possess detailed records in the European context.
"The special challenge of this study was to compare sources and texts that were very different from others from other centuries and cultural regions", said Mariano Barriendos, researcher at the Department of History and Archaeology of the UB, together with Andrea Kiss (TU Wien).
Those texts were studied in their historical context with deep attention to details and a cross-check between episodes of different kinds of documents, places and basins. For instance, the case of data in the Spanish Mediterranean watershed, this check included 4,500 flood cases.
Differences in current river floods
The result of the comparison with air temperature reconstructions in all Europe which verified that the most notable historical flood periods were colder than intermediate phases seemed to contradict the observation which states that in some areas, such as northern-eastern Europe, the recent warm weather is aligned with severe floods.
"The co-variability of temperatures and rainfall, and their modifications, as well as the intensification or weakness due to atmospheric dynamics, can be key aspects to understand those processes", said Fernando Sánchez Rodrigo, physicist at the University of Almería.
The seasonality of floods within the year has changed as well. Previously, the 41% of floods in central Europe took place in summer, compared to the nowadays' 55%. These shifts are related to changes in rainfall, evaporation and snowmelt, and are an important indicator to distinguish between the role of climate change and other control factors such as deforestation and river management.
These results have been obtained from a new database compiled by the authors of the study, which includes the exact dating of almost all flood episodes recorded in documentary and bibliographical sources.
Gerardo Benito, research professor of Earth Sciences of the CSIC, notes that this database provides direct proof of the level of floods during periods of climate crisis, with a high potential for risk studies.
The new study is the first to assess historical periods of floods for a whole continent with such detail during the last five hundred years.
Better data, better forecasts
Due to the change in flood generating mechanisms, use of tools, was advocated by Günter Blöschl, to study the risk of floods that capture the physical processes involved as well as management strategies to incorporate recent changes in the risk analysis.
It is highlighted by the team of authors that the adaptation of the management of floods should be done by keeping in mind new realities of the effects of this phenomenon during the coming decades.
#UN; #UNIDO; #WorldEconomy; #KielInstitute; #EconomicRecovery
VIENNA, 30 June 2020 – The manufacturing sector is facing its most significant challenge yet in the form of COVID-19 disruptions to both supply and demand side, UNIDO reports said.
Image credit: UNIDO
As governments and business are trying to react and mitigate the short-term impact of the pandemic, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has taken a look at the potential long-term changes to industry.
An online event, organized by UNIDO, the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel), and the Kiel Centre for Globalization (KCG), addressed the challenges and opportunities of industrializing for developing countries in these unprecedented times. The webinar brought together over 300 participants from over 80 countries, and it marked the first event in a series on the Future of industrialization in a post-pandemic world, led by UNIDO’s Policy Research and Statistics Department.
UNIDO’s Deputy to the Director General, Hiroshi Kuniyoshi, introduced the series and remarked on the impact of the pandemic, which “has been immediate and ubiquitous, leaving people, businesses and entire economies struggling to deal with the fallout.” He reinforced UNIDO’s commitment to continuing the close collaboration with its Member States and partners, “We must respond with equal speed, moved by a sense of joint purpose.”
Kuniyoshi also set the scene for the series, posing the question that both governments and companies need to answer now: “What will a path to an inclusive and sustainable economic recovery look like?”
The true problem of our time is “the erosion of trust between nations”, remarked the President of the Kiel Institute, Gabriel Felbermayr, which he said is the “indispensable lubricant of global production chains.” Felbermayr noted that “the crisis will profoundly affect the global economy even if production and demand bounce back quickly. The crisis is likely change the structure and patterns of the global division of labour and in particular to affect the global production networks.”
Will the pandemic usher the end of globalization as we know it?
Opening the panel, Beata Javorcik, Chief Economist at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, warned of the "danger that the world will sleepwalk into protectionism.” She also stressed that “we need international commitment to free trade (…) The restructuring of global production networks should be providing opportunities for less popular investment destinations and for export of services in countries with inexpensive skilled labour."
How is the transition towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution impacted by COVID-19?
Three trends in the adoption of 4IR technologies as a consequence of the COVID-19 crisis were outlined by Svenja Falk, Managing Director at Accenture Research: acceleration of platformization and ecosystem governance, the continued diversification of the supply chain, and digital infrastructure at the core of the changes. Falk remarked we are at a tipping point for the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies, however “we will see that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is changing at the same time,” and it is too early to talk about winners or losers.
What can we learn from past crisis to increase resilience of global production networks?
Drawing on lessons learned from past crisis, Izumi Ohno, Director of JICA Ogata Research Institute, talked about the implications for developing countries’ participation in global production networks in the aftermath of COVID-19. “We must find a way to co-exist with the virus. A “new normal” world urges our behavioural change, beyond efficiency.” Ohno reinforced the urgent need to increase the resilience of global production networks, as this will contribute towards a resilient society.
What do the early lessons from the COVID-19 crisis mean for the future of industrialization?
"Developing countries will need to become more active in managing foreign direct investment to seize opportunities in the aftermath of COVID-19,” said Ha-Joon Chang, Director of the Centre of Development Studies at the University of Cambridge. Chang also talked about developing countries’ needs, citing the necessity to “identify strategic sectors, target firms and take into account sectoral needs in building infrastructure."
Panelists agreed that while the current crisis is fueling uncertainty about the future, it also provides an opportunity to closer align our recovery to the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030, taking policy action with long-term inclusive and sustainable results at its core. New production models might pave the way forward, but we must ensure inclusiveness, as well as account for societal and environmental factors, not only the economic.