In a world of climate change, the flood risk will be more intense and more frequent, presenting higher danger to ever more people in a greater number of countries.

In this century alone, the global population has increased by 18 percent. But the number of people exposed to damage and death by rising waters has increased by more than 34 percent.

This finding is not based on mathematical simulations powered by weather data. It is based on direct and detailed observation. Researchers report in the journal Nature that they looked at more than 12,700 satellite images, at a resolution of 250 metres, of 913 large flood events between the years 2000 and 2015.

During those years, and those floods, water spilled from the rivers to inundate a total of 2.23 million square kilometres. This, considered as one event, would cover a total area larger than Saudi Arabia. And during those first 15 years of the century, the number of people directly affected by the floods was at least 255m, and possibly 290m.

In those 15 years, the numbers of people in the way of the ever more devastating floods rose by at least 58m, and possibly as many as 86m. That’s a rise of as much as 24 per cent.

It will get worse. According to the researchers, climate change and the multiplication of human numbers will extend the reach of flood risk: 32 nations already experience ever more flooding. By 2030, another 25 countries will have joined them.

Read the full article about risk of flooding by Tim Radford at Eco-Business.