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Flash floods and Urban flooding Russia

Vulnerabilities Russia

Flash flood 2012 due to warming Black Sea

In July 2012 extreme rainfall caused a flash flood near the Black Sea town of Krymsk that killed over 170 people (5). The daily precipitation total exceeded all previous annual daily maxima since 1936 by a factor of two. On the basis of statistical evidence from the pre-2012 record, the magnitude of the Krymsk event should have been virtually impossible, suggesting a shift in the background climate. The Krymsk event’s rareness raises the question of whether it is a mere statistical outlier, or whether changes in climatic conditions contributed to the extremeness (4).

Regional climate model runs showed that this flood could be attributed to climate change: incremental warming of sea surface temperature in the Black Sea over 
the past few decades seems to have played a crucial role in amplifying the extreme precipitation. The model run with the scenario of the observed temperatures in 2012 showed an increase in the simulated precipitation around Krymsk of 300% when compared with the scenario where the average warming over the previous 30 years had been removed (4).

The global warming trend in surface temperatures over The
 Black Sea has dramatically increased the risk of an event like the July 2012 flash floods (4). Early August 2002 exceptionally severe weather descended on parts of central and southern Europe. Devastating flash floods occurred on the Russian Black Sea coast, killing more than 100 people (1).

Recent studies suggest that winter precipitation could increase for Russia under climate change, and there is consistency across different climate models in this change (2). Besides, precipitation from extreme storm events is projected to increase (2–9% increase in the maximum amount of precipitation over a 5-day period, for instance) (2). The projections for extreme precipitation cannot be translated directly into flood projections, however; detailed local-scale impact models, incorporating topography and specifics of hydrology, are needed for this. There is less agreement across climate models for precipitation changes in summer (3).


The references below are cited in full in a separate map 'References'. Please click here if you are looking for the full references for Russia.

  1. James et al. (2004)
  2. World Bank (2009), in: Met Office Hadley Centre (2011)
  3. Met Office Hadley Centre (2011)
  4. Meredith et al. (2015)
  5. Kotlyakov et al. (2013), in: Meredith et al. (2015)