Geographies of UK flooding in 2013/4
The information, practices and views in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG).
Between December 2013 and February 2014, an extreme storm surge, a series of intense storms, and the cumulative effects of heavy and persistent rainfall caused widespread flooding throughout the UK, prompting renewed public and scientific debates on who, or what, might be to blame. The public divided fairly evenly into two diametrically opposed groups, the first blaming the government (who initially responded by trying to shift blame to their expert advisors), attributing the mounting flood losses and prolonged misery to lack of investment in flood defences and river dredging. The second group blamed farmers for over‐intensive agriculture in upstream catchments, inappropriate development in floodplains, and poor judgement on the part of the victims in choosing to live, work or farm in areas vulnerable to inundation. The floods resulted from a protracted sequence of deep, Atlantic depressions that followed a more southerly track than usual due to the position and configuration of the planetary jet stream. This prompted a second, no less polarised, scientific debate concerning whether the meteorological characteristics of the floods provided evidence that climate change has started to influence not only the probability of UK flooding, but also its nature, spatial distribution and duration. Both debates are intrinsically geographical, and this commentary sets out how understanding the geographies of flooding can help frame and inform them. This is addressed through consideration of these geographies, characterised as physical, rural, urban, social, economic and political. While an individual event (or even a sequence clustered of floods) cannot alone prove anything, the winter floods reinforce the conclusions of the Government's Flood Foresight study, which was commissioned in response to the 2000 (Millennium) Floods and updated following nationwide floods in summer 2007.
Number of times cited: 26
- Viktoria Cologna, Rosalind H. Bark and Jouni Paavola, The Role of Risk Perceptions in Climate Change Communication: A Media Analysis on the UK Winter Floods 2015/2016, Handbook of Climate Change Communication: Vol. 2, 10.1007/978-3-319-70066-3_18, (277-288), (2017).
- Bruno Castelle, Guillaume Dodet, Gerhard Masselink and Tim Scott, Increased Winter‐Mean Wave Height, Variability, and Periodicity in the Northeast Atlantic Over 1949–2017, Geophysical Research Letters, 45, 8, (3586-3596), (2018).
- Larissa A. Naylor, Tom Spencer, Stuart N. Lane, Stephen E. Darby, Francis J. Magilligan, Mark G. Macklin and Iris Möller, Stormy geomorphology: geomorphic contributions in an age of climate extremes, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 42, 1, (166-190), (2016).
- Larissa A. Naylor, Mairi MacArthur, Stephanie Hampshire, Kieran Bostock, Martin A. Coombes, Jim D. Hansom, Rowan Byrne and Tristan Folland, Rock armour for birds and their prey: ecological enhancement of coastal engineering, Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Maritime Engineering, 170, 2, (67), (2017).
- Andy J. Howard, Emma Hancox, Jack Hanson and Robin Jackson, Protecting the Historic Environment from Inland Flooding in the UK: Some Thoughts on Current Approaches to Asset Management in the Light of Planning Policy, Changing Catchment Hydrology and Climate Change, The Historic Environment: Policy & Practice, 8, 2, (125), (2017).
- Will J. Brownlie, Helen J. Woods, Kate E. Waters, Alanna L. Moore, Alannah M. Bruce, Justyna P. Olszewska and Stephen C. Ives, Freshwater science for the benefit of society: a perspective from early career researchers, Inland Waters, 7, 2, (227), (2017).
- Maggie Mort, Marion Walker, Amanda Bingley and Alison Lloyd Williams, From victims to actors: The role of children and young people in flood recovery and resilience, Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, (239965441771798), (2017).
- Alex Y. Lo and Faith Chan, Preparing for flooding in England and Wales: the role of risk perception and the social context in driving individual action, Natural Hazards, 88, 1, (367), (2017).
- J. F. Rosser, D. G. Leibovici and M. J. Jackson, Rapid flood inundation mapping using social media, remote sensing and topographic data, Natural Hazards, 87, 1, (103), (2017).
- Viktoria Cologna, Rosalind H. Bark and Jouni Paavola, Flood risk perceptions and the UK media: Moving beyond “once in a lifetime” to “Be Prepared” reporting, Climate Risk Management, 17, (1), (2017).
- V. J. Janes, R. C. Grabowski, J. Mant, D. Allen, J. L. Morse and H. Haynes, The Impacts of Natural Flood Management Approaches on In‐Channel Sediment Quality, River Research and Applications, 33, 1, (89-101), (2016).
- Jan Petzold, Limitations and opportunities of social capital for adaptation to climate change: a case study on the Isles of Scilly, The Geographical Journal, 182, 2, (123-134), (2015).
- Louise J. Slater, To what extent have changes in channel capacity contributed to flood hazard trends in England and Wales?, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 41, 8, (1115-1128), (2016).
- Christian Kuklicke and David Demeritt, Adaptive and risk-based approaches to climate change and the management of uncertainty and institutional risk: The case of future flooding in England, Global Environmental Change, 37, (56), (2016).
- W. Neil Adger, Tara Quinn, Irene Lorenzoni and Conor Murphy, Sharing the Pain: Perceptions of Fairness Affect Private and Public Response to Hazards, Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 106, 5, (1079), (2016).
- Andy J. Howard, David Knight, Tom Coulthard, Karen Hudson-Edwards, David Kossoff and Steve Malone, Assessing riverine threats to heritage assets posed by future climate change through a geomorphological approach and predictive modelling in the Derwent Valley Mills WHS, UK, Journal of Cultural Heritage, 10.1016/j.culher.2015.11.007, 19, (387-394), (2016).
- G. Salvini, A. van Paassen, A. Ligtenberg, G.C. Carrero and A.K. Bregt, A role-playing game as a tool to facilitate social learning and collective action towards Climate Smart Agriculture: Lessons learned from Apuí, Brazil, Environmental Science & Policy, 63, (113), (2016).
- David Benson, Irene Lorenzoni and Hadrian Cook, Evaluating social learning in England flood risk management: An ‘individual-community interaction’ perspective, Environmental Science & Policy, 55, (326), (2016).
- Justin Sharpe, Understanding and unlocking transformative learning as a method for enabling behaviour change for adaptation and resilience to disaster threats, International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 17, (213), (2016).
- Grace Garner, Anne F. Van Loon, Christel Prudhomme and David M. Hannah, Hydroclimatology of extreme river flows, Freshwater Biology, 60, 12, (2461-2476), (2015).
- Klaus Dodds, Après le deluge: the UK winter storms of 2013-14, The Geographical Journal, 180, 4, (294), (2014).
- Ruth Elizabeth Cole Gerrard, Developing an index of community competence in flood response for flood‐affected rural parishes on the Somerset Levels and Moors using composite and spatial datasets, Area, , (2018).
- Victor Malagon Santos, Ivan Haigh and Thomas Wahl, Spatial and Temporal Clustering Analysis of Extreme Wave Events around the UK Coastline, Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, 10.3390/jmse5030028, 5, 3, (28), (2017).
- Ivan D. Haigh, Matthew P. Wadey, Thomas Wahl, Ozgun Ozsoy, Robert J. Nicholls, Jennifer M. Brown, Kevin Horsburgh and Ben Gouldby, Spatial and temporal analysis of extreme sea level and storm surge events around the coastline of the UK, Scientific Data, 10.1038/sdata.2016.107, 3, (160107), (2016).
- A. Morrison, C.J. Westbrook and B.F. Noble, A review of the flood risk management governance and resilience literature, Journal of Flood Risk Management, , (2017).
- Y‐T. Tang, F.K.S. Chan, E.C. O'Donnell, J. Griffiths, L. Lau, D.L. Higgitt and C.R. Thorne, Aligning ancient and modern approaches to sustainable urban water management in China: Ningbo as a “Blue‐Green City” in the “Sponge City” campaign, Journal of Flood Risk Management, e12451, (2018).