Major floods in natural rivers across North America and Europe do not come solely as a result of more frequent and intense precipitation.
A group of researchers at the University of Saskatchewan have helped discover the occurrence of major flooding in North America and Europe often varies with North Atlantic Ocean temperature patterns.
Paul Whitfield is a senior research fellow with the Centre for Hydrology at University of Saskatchewan and co-author of the research study.
He notes this is not a simple study and has so many other factors involved.
“If you get up in the morning and it’s ten degrees and you look at the temperature and you look at the temperature at noon – it’s drastically increased, “Whitfield said. “It’s happening through a process we understand as opposed to being driven by a long-term climate change.”
The study found that during warm phases in the North Atlantic, the number of major floods for many large watersheds in North America was reduced while the number increased for medium-sized watersheds in Europe.