Car caught in flood.
Predicting the risk of flood
20 July 2009
Summer 2007 saw some of the worst floods in Britain since the 1940s.
Extremely heavy rainfall in June, followed by higher than average rainfall in July, led to water levels rising so high that thousands of people had to flee their homes.
Abingdon, a market town in Oxfordshire, was particularly badly hit. Science writer and broadcaster Sue Nelson visits some of the victims of the flood and talks to Dr Nick Reynard, who's the head of the risk analysis and modelling group at the nearby Centre for Ecology & Hydrology.
Nick explains why the floods were so bad and describes some of the methods his team use to predict the likelihood of future flooding. His team's science is set to feed into legislation that will help improve how Britain deals with floods in future.
Click the play button above to listen now.
Phil Rothwell, head of policy at the Environment Agency, is optimistic that many lessons can be learnt from the floods but admits that climate change will bring a whole new set of problems.
Global warming is predicted to bring changes in rainfall intensity and variability, both of which may increase the risk of flooding.
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