Extreme rainfall and more wet days will hamper the global economy, a study says

Challenges related to excessive rainfall look to be here for the foreseeable future.
Last summer heavy rain led to severe flooding in a number of European countries, causing deaths and significant damage to buildings and infrastructure.  

Climate affects the “economic growth story” and requires a response at the local, regional and international level, a climate scientist has told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe”.

Anders Levermann, who is head of the complexity science research department at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, was speaking after a recent study published in the journal Nature found economic growth falls when the amount of “wet days and days with extreme rainfall” increases.

Scientists at PIK looked at data from over 1,500 regions between 1979 and 2019. In a statement last month, PIK said the analysis suggested that “intensified daily rainfall driven by climate-change from burning oil and coal will harm the global economy.”

The peer-reviewed study was led by Leonie Wenz, from PIK and the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change.

“Economies across the world are slowed down by more wet days and extreme daily rainfall — an important insight that adds to our growing understanding of the true costs of climate change,” she said.

“While more annual rainfall is generally good for economies, especially agriculturally dependent ones, the question is also how the rain is distributed across the days of the year,” she added.

“Intensified daily rainfall turns out to be bad, especially for wealthy, industrialized countries like the US, Japan, or Germany,” Wenz said. PIK highlighted both the service and manufacturing sectors as being particularly affected.

Challenges related to excessive, heavy rain look to be here for the foreseeable future. According to the U.K.’s national meteorological service, the Met Office, as “global temperatures rise, the number of extreme rainfall days is expected to increase.”

Last summer, for example, heavy rain led to severe flooding in a number of European countries, causing deaths as well as significant damage to buildings and infrastructure.  

In response to what it called “catastrophic flooding and heavy rain”, Germany’s federal government said it would provide as much as 30 billion euros (around $34.3 billion) to assist parts of the country affected by the flooding.

Source: CNBC