New research from the World Weather Attribution (WWA) group, has found very heavy rain, similar to that of Cyclone Gabrielle, has become around four times more common in the Hawke’s Bay region.
Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Team Leader Marine Air and Land Science, Dr Kathleen Kozyniak says research attributing an increase in intense rainfall events to climate change is not surprising.
“Increased intensity in rainfall has already been identified as an expected result of a warming climate” says Dr Kozyniak.
“We have already seen intense rain events become more common and Cyclone Gabrielle is coming on the back of the wettest six months in our Council’s record in the region.
“Whilst the reported WWA findings are interesting at a high level, more work needs to be done in this space for us to better anticipate increasingly intense rainfall in the region. These events will have an impact on our maintenance and building of flood protection infrastructure,” she said.
The rapid study was conducted by 23 researchers as part of the World Weather Attribution group, including scientists from universities and meteorological agencies in Aotearoa New Zealand, France, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the US.
The reported findings are that very heavy rain, similar to that of Cyclone Gabrielle, although still rare, has become around four times more common in the Hawke’s Bay region. It also found extreme rainfall events produce around 30% more rain than before humans warmed the planet.