Enhanced flood risk with 1.5 °c global warming in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna basin

P. F. Uhe, D. M. Mitchell, P. D. Bates, C. C. Sampson, A. M. Smith, A. S. Islam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)
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Flood hazard is a global problem, but regions such as south Asia, where people's livelihoods are highly dependent on water resources, can be affected disproportionally. The 2017 monsoon flooding in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna (GBM) basin, with record river levels observed, resulted in ∼1200 deaths, and dramatic loss of crops and infrastructure. The recent Paris Agreement called for research into impacts avoided by stabilizing climate at 1.5 °C over 2 °C global warming above pre-industrial conditions. Climate model scenarios representing these warming levels were combined with a high-resolution flood hazard model over the GBM region. The simulations of 1.5 °C and 2 °C warming indicate an increase in extreme precipitation and corresponding flood hazard over the GBM basin compared to the current climate. So, for example, even with global warming limited to 1.5 °C, for extreme precipitation events such as the south Asian crisis in 2017 there is a detectable increase in the likelihood in flooding. The additional ∼0.6 °C warming needed to take us from current climate to 1.5 °C highlights the changed flood risk even with low levels of warming.

Original languageEnglish
Article number074031
Number of pages13
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jul 2019


  • 1.5°C global warming
  • climate change
  • Flooding
  • Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna


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