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It Never Rains, But it Pours a Lot More

by: Hayley Fowler    5 September 2006

Scotland is suffering four times more long spells of rain than it did 30 years ago, a study has revealed.

All of Britain is getting wetter, according to researchers, who say it is further evidence of global warming.

But "extreme rainfall events" lasting five to 10 days were four times more common in Scotland in the 1990s than 30 years earlier.

The north of England saw a doubling of the extreme periods of rain.

Newcastle University researchers say the five million people who live near rivers - one in 10 of the UK population - can expect to face an increased risk of flooding in years to come.

Team leader Dr Hayley Fowler said: "The changes we observed over the 40-year period we studied are consistent with the trend we would expect from global warming.

"If the trend continues, which is likely, this suggests we will have an increase in flooding over the coming years which has major implications for flood risk management."

Dr Fowler said water companies should consider how to store water during extreme rainy spells for later use in the summer.

She said: "One solution could be to build storage facilities such as small reservoirs close to rivers to catch the excess water following extreme rainfall events."

"This could also help alleviate the potential for flooding as well as solve the water shortage crisis we are likely to experience in the summer months."