Human-engineered changes on Mississippi River increased extreme floods

As Jim Steele and Kip Hansen have shown many times, there is often a confluence of man and nature in disaster, with no need to invoke the CO2 fairy;
They found that the Mississippi’s flood cycles corresponded with ocean and climate cycles.

In particular, El Niño events bring more storms and rainfall to central North America, which saturates the ground around the Mississippi. One phase of the Atlantic Ocean oscillation brings extreme rainfall over the Mississippi basin. When the two coincide, flooding is more likely.

“We’re able for the first time to really parse out how the natural variability of the climate system influences flooding, and then how people have modified that,” Muñoz said.

The sediment data also showed that the natural rhythm of flooding caused by ocean changes was greatly amplified by major federally-funded river engineering projects that began after 1928 to facilitate commercial navigation on the river and to protect communities and cropland from floods.

Tallbloke's Talkshop

Levee breach on the Mississippi river [image credit: Wikipedia]
This shows once again that glib claims about climate-related flooding due to ‘extreme weather’ should be treated with great caution, or even suspicion. The reality is that other factors are at work.

A new study has revealed for the first time the last 500-year flood history of the Mississippi River, as Eurakalert reports.

It shows a dramatic rise in the size and frequency of extreme floods in the past century — mostly due to projects to straighten, channelize, and bound the river with artificial levees.

The new research, led by scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), also uncovered a clear pattern over the centuries linking flooding on the Mississippi with natural fluctuations of Pacific and Atlantic Ocean water temperatures.

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