The rain deluge and flash floods of summer 2022 in the United Arab Emirates: Causes, analysis and perspectives on flood-risk reduction
Source of Publication
Journal of Arid Environments
Across the hyperarid Arabian Peninsula, preparing to face evolving risks of flash-flood hazards against projected scenarios for climate change requires both an understanding of the extreme rainfall events responsible and the implementation of appropriate mitigation/adaptation measures. In July 2022, torrential storms affected northeastern UAE. The damaging impacts prompted a broader consideration of flash-flood risks, especially for rapidly-urbanising arid landscapes. Occurring unexpectedly in mid-summer when rainfall is normally absent, the storms were produced by a combination of climatic and oceanic conditions: ITCZ position, unusual westward extension of a humid air mass from the Indian monsoonal trough, a cool sea-surface temperature anomaly that drove strong onshore moisture advection, and orographic precipitation enhancement by the coastal ranges. A foreign media suggestion that cloud seeding was partly responsible, however, is contested. Although flood emergency management was coordinated and effective, it is argued that various strategies may be strengthened to reduce future disaster risks. These include increased monitoring of mountain wadi systems to augment meteorological forecasts with hydrological information, and improved modelling to predict runoff-generation processes better in ungauged catchments. Greater capture of floodwaters to infiltrate and replenish groundwater aquifers also supports ongoing national efforts to develop sustainable solutions for addressing freshwater scarcity.
Flash floods, Climate change, Rain deluge, Flood-risk reduction, Arid landscapes
Terry, James P.; Al Ruheili, Amna; Almarzooqi, Maitha Ali; Almheiri, Reem Yousuf; and Alshehhi, Amani Khaled, "The rain deluge and flash floods of summer 2022 in the United Arab Emirates: Causes, analysis and perspectives on flood-risk reduction" (2023). All Works. 5885.
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