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Floods force many to face climate change reality

July 22, 2007

Photo: Before and After Image of Flooding

BRIESKOW-FINKENHEERD, Germany (Reuters) - Fisherman Peter Schneider knows the floods come each year and says they are good for business -- but few other people see any benefit as experts warn of more high water to come.

"We fishermen have always lived with that. We're happy when the floods come, because it can only be good for the fish," he said in his village close to the Oder river that forms the border between Germany and Poland.

Schneider's business almost went belly-up 10 years ago, when the river gushed through the dykes protecting a low-lying swath of land in this former East German region and immersed the building where he keeps his boats and nets.

The catastrophe forced thousands from their homes in Germany and elsewhere, and experts now say climate change may cause more disasters in Europe and across the world, with evidence increasing that global temperatures are rising.

"It would be wrong to deny the possible impact of climate change on flooding because if we (waited for more) statistical proof it may be too late," said Wolfgang Grabs at the World Meteorological Organisation of the United Nations.

Warmer air can hold more water and will unleash more energy when the weather turns bad, Grabs said, making storms heavier and boosting rainfall.

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