Cities Around the World Starting to Drown

Cities Around the World are Starting to Drown

The effects of global warming are most apparent with intense droughts, wildfires, and extreme heat, but flooding and relentless precipitation are also consequences of a changing climate. Coastal cities like Mumbai are no stranger to massive monsoons; however, severe flooding occurs more and more frequently, causing infrastructure damage and killing civilians. Last year Mumbai received 3 meters of rainfall over a four-month period -- almost one meter more than the seasonal average. While Mumbai city officials develop a climate action plan to address the increasingly severe monsoon seasons, residents will have to deal with immediate threats of climate change and consider the possibility of relocation.

Why This Matters

Mumbai is not the only city facing extreme precipitation and flooding. Miami is one of the most vulnerable cities in the world due to sea level rise and storm surges. San Francisco is sinking into the bay, making inundation a more frequent possibility. Even in the land-locked city of Chicago, the fluctuating shores of Lake Michigan have destroyed beachfront property and affected the drinking water supply.

The costs of heavy precipitation caused by climate change in cities all over the US have contributed to over $73 billion in flood damage over the past three decades. According to insurance company Munich Re, flooding is "the number one natural peril in the US," as it destroys homes and threatens the livelihoods of many.

The Guardian: Climate change is making floods worse - here's how, October 19, 2021.

Extreme Precipitation Isn't Only A Coastal Problem

Flooding is one of the most direct effects of heavy precipitation. However, the indirect consequences of heavy rains may be even more dangerous, such as significant soil erosion and crop damage that threatens the food supply for millions of people. In 2020, a violent derecho tore through Iowa with the force and strength of a hurricane, damaging up to 43% of the state's soybean and corn crops. While the derecho alone cost the state of Iowa $802 million in damages, natural disasters in the US in 2020 caused $6.5 billion in damage to crops, pasture, and rangeland.

The Fifth Estate: What the B.C. government knew about the flood threat, November 25, 2021.