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Impacts of anthropogenic warming and uneven regional socio-economic development on global river flood risk


Xihui Gu, Qiang Zhang, Jianfeng Li, Deliang Chen, Vijay P. Singh, Yongqiang Zhang, Jianyu Liu, Zexi Shen, Huiqian Yu

[Xihui Gu] Department of Atmospheric Science, School of Environmental Studies, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China

[Xihui Gu, Qiang Zhang, Zexi Shen, Huiqian Yu]] Key Laboratory of Environmental Change and Natural Disaster, Ministry of Education, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China

[Qiang Zhang, Zexi, Shen, Huiqian Yu] Faculty of Geographical Science, Academy of Disaster Reduction and Emergency Management, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China

[Qiang Zhang, Zexi, Shen, Huiqian Yu] State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China

[Jianfeng Li] Department of Geography, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong, China

[Deliang Chen] Department of Earth Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Box 460, Göteborg, Sweden

[Vijay P. Singh] Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering and Zachry Department of Civil Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA

[Vijay P. Singh] National Water Center, UAE University, Al Ein, United Arab Emirates

[Yongqiang Zhang] Key Lab of Water Cycle and Related Land Surface Processes, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100101, China

[Jianyu Liu] Laboratory of Critical Zone Evolution, School of Earth Sciences, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China


Abstract: Employing a multi-model framework, we estimate the impacts of contrasting warming levels and uneven regional socio-economic development on area, population and gross domestic product (GDP) exposures to flood magnitude and variability in global Flood-Affected Regions (FARs). These exposures to flood variability show persistent increases in FARs, but to flood magnitude only in East and South Asia. Globally, the increases in these exposures are not projected in moderate but extreme floods. Specifically, the areal exposure would be decreased (increased) by 1.8%/°C (1.9%/°C) for moderate (extreme) floods; the reduced population exposure to extreme floods can be three times higher than that to moderate floods when limiting 2 °C to 1.5 °C warming. Rapid regional economic growth of East and South Asia (whose GDP accounts for 9.8% of FARs in year 2000 to 18.5% in year 2025) would shift global GDP exposure from a decrease of 2.5%/°C to an increase of 1.7%/°C.


Published in: Journal of Hydrology, 2020, 590, 125262, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2020.125262