Published June 7, 2021 | Version v1
Report Open

Climate change increases extreme rainfall and the chance of floods

  • 1. School of Engineering and Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, Newcastle University
  • 2. Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (INPE)
  • 3. School of Environmental Science and Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of East Anglia (UEA)


This ScienceBrief Review examines the links between climate change and extreme rainfall that can lead to severe flooding. It synthesises findings from more than 170 peer-reviewed scientific articles gathered using ScienceBrief. Climate change increases the frequency and intensity of extreme rainfall because a warmer atmosphere holds more water vapour that can rain out, sometimes over a short period. The movement of water vapour through the atmosphere, in storms, is also modified. Increases in extreme rainfall have been observed in many parts of the world. Extreme rainfall, in turn, can increase the chance of floods occurring and their magnitude in small and in urban catchments, severely impacting local populations and infrastructure. Extreme rainfall and associated flood hazards are projected to increase as global temperatures continue to rise.



Files (576.1 kB)

Name Size Download all
576.1 kB Preview Download

Additional details


VERIFY – Observation-based system for monitoring and verification of greenhouse gases 776810
European Commission
4C – Climate-Carbon Interactions in the Current Century 821003
European Commission
CRESCENDO – Coordinated Research in Earth Systems and Climate: Experiments, kNowledge, Dissemination and Outreach 641816
European Commission