Southwest Wisconsin seems to have escaped flooding so far this year, but a recent discussion casts new light on those 100-year floods the region experienced, two years in a row.
Following the unexpected and unprepared for flooding of the Red River in 1997, Dr. Will Gosnold and colleagues looked into the standard governmental flood frequency data. He says their research showed a large spread of frequency for a flood of that magnitude, prompting them to question the reality of a so-called 100 year flood.
Dr. Gosnold then examined the underlying assumptions, and was astonished to find the first one is that climate does not change. With further research he found the climate has been changing, from a wet, cold climate in the 1800's to a wetter, warmer climate today. Gosnold says the result is that those 100-year-floods may be occurring more often than every century.
It's not just the Midwest, either. Dr. Amanda Staudt of the National Wildlife Federation says in the Northeast United States, those one in 20 year storms are projected to happen every four to six years by the end of the century.