Dam safety: New study indicates probable maximum flood events will significantly increase over next 80 years

The flood capacity of dams could be at greater risk of being exceeded, due to out-of-date modelling for potential maximum rainfall, according to new research. The study concludes that the rainfall model that engineers use to help design critical infrastructure such as large dams and nuclear power plants needs to be updated to account for climate change. The paper calculates that estimates of the ‘Probable Maximum Precipitation’ (PMP) — the greatest depth of rainfall possible — for 546 large dams across Australia is expected to increase between 14 and 38 per cent on average due to atmospheric moisture.The flood capacity of dams could be at greater risk of being exceeded, due to out-of-date modelling for potential maximum rainfall, according to new research. The study concludes that the rainfall model that engineers use to help design critical infrastructure such as large dams and nuclear power plants needs to be updated to account for climate change. The paper calculates that estimates of the ‘Probable Maximum Precipitation’ (PMP) — the greatest depth of rainfall possible — for 546 large dams across Australia is expected to increase between 14 and 38 per cent on average due to atmospheric moisture.

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