Analysing urban floods and combined sewer overflows in a changing climate

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Climate change is expected to lead to an increased frequency and intensity of extreme precipitation events. For urban drainage, the primary adverse effects are more frequent and severe sewer overloading and flooding in urban areas, and higher discharges through combined sewer overflows (CSO). For assessing the possible effects of climate change, urban drainage models are run with climate-change-adjusted input data. However, current climate models are run on a spatial–temporal scale that is too coarse to resolve processes relevant to urban drainage modelling, in particular convective precipitation events.

In the work reported here the delta-change method was used to develop a high-resolution time series of precipitation for the period 2071–2100 based on a recently produced climate model precipitation time series for Oslo. The present and future performance of the sewer networks was determined using MOUSE software. The simulations indicated future increases in annual CSO discharge of 33% when comparing years of maximum annual runoff. There is also an 83% increase in annual CSO discharge when comparing years of maximum annual precipitation. In addition, there are increases in the flooding of manholes and increased levels of backwater in pipes, which translates into more flooding of basements.

Keywords: adaption, climate change, combined sewer overflow (CSO), delta-change method, stormwater, urban drainage

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