First estimate of the future global population at risk of flooding

Yukiko Hirabayashi and Shinjiro Kanae
Release Date: January 29, 2009

First estimate of the future global population at risk of flooding
Yukiko Hirabayashi1)2) and Shinjiro Kanae3)4)

1) Interdisciplinary Graduate School of Medicine and Engineering, University of Yamanashi
2) Institute of Physical Geography, Frankfurt University
3) Department of Mechanical and Environmental Informatics, Tokyo Institute of Technology
4) Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo

(Received: October 22, 2008)
(Accepted for publication: January 21, 2009)

Flooding is one of the major risks anticipated to increase in association with anthropogenically induced climate change which is likely to intensify the global water cycle. Currently, 20 to 300 million people per year are affected by floods that threaten both social security and sustainable development. This study presents the first estimate of future populations at risk of flooding. Results indicate that in the case of 3°C warming from the average of 1980-1999, approximately 300 million people could be at risk even in years of relatively low flooding; this number corresponds to the number of people affected in a devastating flood year at present. If the temperature increase is greater than 3°C, the flood-affected population would likely be even larger. We suggest that approximately 2°C warming, rather than 3°C warming, should be considered the critical level of temperature increase.

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To cite this article:
Yukiko Hirabayashi and Shinjiro Kanae: “First estimate of the future global population at risk of flooding”, Hydrological Research Letters, Vol. 3, pp.6-9, (2009) .

Copyright (c) 2009 Japan Society of Hydrology and Water Resources

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