Feeds

Blighty to become old-time Inundation Nation

Floods are the new terrorism, says expert

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

A top boffin has warned that Blighty may be headed into a "monsoon" period, possibly a decade or more in duration, in which we can expect much more flooding than has been the norm for the past generation or so. Interestingly, Professor Stuart Lane doesn't ascribe his predicted watery onslaught to climate change. He says the UK has often suffered such flooding epidemics in the past.

"Flooding should be given the same priority as terrorism," suggests Lane, who works at Durham University's new Institute of Hazard and Risk Research.

"We have not been good at recognising just how flood-prone we can be," adds the prof, who is qualified in both civil engineering and geography. His research indicates that Britain is just emerging from an unusually long spell, starting in the 1960s, during which there was an abnormally low number of floods. At other times in the 19th and 20th centuries, the events of last summer would have looked fairly routine.

"This matters because we set our flood protection in terms of return periods – the average number of years between floods of a given size," he says. "We have probably under-estimated the frequency of flooding, which is now happening, as it did before the 1960s, much more often than we are used to."

In other words, last year's severe floods were actually not that unusual in a historical sense, and there may well be more of the same on the way. Prof Lane reckons that problems could be especially severe now, however, as there has been a lot of building since the 1960s and much of this will be threatened by floods - while flood defences, designed for the easy times of the last 40 years, will probably be inadequate. Ongoing plans for more building on flood plains could worsen the issue.

Durham Uni's suggested catchphrase for the coming waterlogged era is "Monsoon Britain". However, Vulture Central - having considered the government's plan to revitalise old Blighty under the Innovation Nation tag - would put forward "Inundation Nation" for consideration. You decide.

Professor Lane's work is published in the current issue of Geography and funded both from government/academic sources and the insurance industry. There is no indication that any of the cash is being spent on a hilltop deployable biodiversity payload flotation module, but one can always hope.

Lane is plainly a real scientist and engineer, not some kind of slick-talking mouthpiece. He summed up his arguments by saying: "We are now having to learn to live with levels of flooding that are beyond most people’s living memory, something that most of us have forgotten how to do."

So we've forgotten the period before living memory. Don't you hate it when that happens? ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Microsoft's anti-bug breakthrough: Wire devs to BRAIN SCANNERS
Clippy: It looks your hands are shaking, are you sure you want to commit this code?
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.