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Rain, risk and resilience

July 2010

Are changing rainfall patterns putting the UK at greater risk of flooding?

Rain, risk and resilience

Boscastle, 2004. Carlisle, 2005. Midlands, 2007. Cumbria, 2009. Heavy rainfall was a key factor for all of these recent flood events. Is the UK entering a period of changing, heavier rainfall? And if so, is this a symptom of climate change? Or are the causes of recent floods and their accompanying rainfall patterns attributable to other physical influences?

This case study examines some of the theories that may help explain recent extreme rainfall events that have caused major flooding. We also present a summary a key human factors that also contribute to the increasing potential for flood disasters to be experienced by UK citizens.


This article supports students following AS/A2 and IB geography courses with a flood risk and / or climate change component. The main emphasis of the article is placed on the uncertainties of climate change rainfall modelling and the implications of this for risk and resilience studies.

In the Members' Area:

  • The Cumbrian floods of 2009
  • Climate change and changing rainfall patterns
  • 21st Century flood disaster predictions for the UK
  • AS / A2 / IB Hazards activity

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