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Understanding the drivers behind urban floods is critical for reducing its devastating impacts to human and society. This study investigates the impacts of recent urban development on hydrological runoff and urban flood volumes in a major city located in northern China, and compares the urbanization impacts with the effects induced by climate change under two representative concentration pathways (RCPs 2.6 and 8.5). We then quantify the role of urban drainage system in mitigating flood volumes to inform future adaptation strategies. A geo-spatial database on landuse types, surface imperviousness and drainage systems is developed and used as inputs into the SWMM urban drainage model to estimate the flood volumes and related risks under various urbanization and climate change scenarios. It is found that urbanization has led to an increase in annual surface runoff by 208 to 413%, but the changes in urban flood volumes can vary greatly depending on performance of drainage system along the development. Specifically, changes caused by urbanization in expected annual flood volumes are within a range of 194 to 942%, which are much higher than the effects induced by climate change under the RCP 2.6 scenario (64 to 200%). Through comparing the impacts of urbanization and climate change on urban runoff and flood volumes, this study highlights the importance for re-assessment of current and future urban drainage in coping with the changing urban floods induced by local and large-scale changes.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: The Science of the total environment
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The process whereby a society changes from a rural to an urban way of life. It refers also to the gradual increase in the proportion of people living in urban areas.
Any significant change in measures of climate (such as temperature, precipitation, or wind) lasting for an extended period (decades or longer). It may result from natural factors such as changes in the sun's intensity, natural processes within the climate system such as changes in ocean circulation, or human activities.
Comparison of various psychological, sociological, or cultural factors in order to assess the similarities or diversities occurring in two or more different cultures or societies.
A type of climate characterized by insufficient moisture to support appreciable plant life. It is a climate of extreme aridity, usually of extreme heat, and of negligible rainfall. (From McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms, 4th ed)
An animal or plant species in danger of extinction. Causes can include human activity, changing climate, or change in predator/prey ratios.