EcoTrack11: Flooding Not An Act of Nature

TOLEDO -- In the past year, much of Northwest Ohio has experienced flooding. And in some areas, people have seen waters rise higher than they have in the past hundred years.

In this EcoTrack 11 report, News 11 Chief Meteorologist Robert Shiels explains why this may not be just a random act of nature.

On August 22, 2007 the moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer on NASA's terra satellite captured this image of the flood-swollen Blanchard River in Ohio.

The Blanchard River flows through the heart of the city of Findlay, which has endured its worst flooding in nearly 100 years. Flooding was also prevalent downstream in the smaller town of Ottawa in Putnam County.

Flooding to extremes is consistent with expectations of heavier precipitation, which can be related to a warming climate.

The Nobel Prize winning intergovernmental panel on climate change states "the frequency of heavy precipitation events has increased over most land areas, consistent with warming and increases of atmospheric water vapor. It is very likely that hot extremes, heat waves and heavy precipitation events will continue to become more frequent."

Though there continues to be drought in some places in the US, including the southeast, the IPCC states "there is an improving understanding of projected patterns of precipitation. Increases in precipitation are very likely in high-latitudes, while decreases are likely in most subtropical land regions."

Due to flooding in the summer of 2007 the Ohio government declared a state of emergency in nine counties.