FEARS THAT climate change will trigger a surge of serious floods later this century have prompted the Environment Agency to commission new engineering design guidelines.
The guidance will help engineers take account of the latest UK climate change forecasts, published last week by government research body UK Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP).
UKCIP's report Climate change scenarios for the UK reveals three possible yet different climates for the UK up to the 2080s - based on continuing low, medium and high levels of global carbon dioxide emissions.
The report warns that, for example, continuing medium scale global emissions will increase the frequency of abnormally high storm surges along the UK's east coast by between 10 and 20 times.
Agency climate change risk analyst Nick Raynard said this week that the new guide, being compiled by consultant HR Wallingford, will help engineers use the UKCIP data as quickly as possible.
The guide will not advise which climate change scenario to use, or offer fixed advice on how much flood embankments should be raised, Raynard said.
Instead it will highlight which aspects engineers must consider during modelling for flooding or when designing new structures.
Coastal engineers will also be advised to consider wind, waves and surge tide changes.
The guide will also draw attention to research on particular aspects of flooding. It is due out in June, when it is likely to be launched at an HR Wallingford workshop.
INFOPLUS www. ukcip. org. uk/scenarios