Flood risk management is a top priority, exacerbated by the perception that flood risk has increased during the last two decades in many regions.
There are two hypotheses for such changing patterns:
- Changes in climate, e.g. the sequencing of extreme wet and dry periods, leading to a greater magnitude and/or frequency of hydrological extremes (Huntington 2006); and
- The effects of land management in changing the relationship between extreme climate events and hydrological extremes (O'Connell et al. 2007)
It is difficult to envisage interference with climate change on a regional scale but changes in land management may sometimes be feasible. However, integrating information from weather and climate impact models will enable the design of short-term strategies to risks from storms. There is much emphasis on management of the land to reduce storm runoff, harnessing peat lands and wetlands to store water and expanding salt marshes to reduce wave energy on coastal defenses. Alongside this, is the concept of identifying areas suitable for inundation and water storage to prevent flooding elsewhere.
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