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Floods of the Eastern United States
Villarini, G. and Smith, J.A. 2010. Flood peak distributions for the eastern United States. Water Resources Research 46: 10.1029/2009WR008395.

What was done
In the words of the authors, they "examined the distribution of flood peaks for the eastern United States using annual maximum flood peak records from 572 U.S. Geological Survey stream gaging stations with at least 75 years of observations."

What was learned
Villarini and Smith found that, "in general, the largest flood magnitudes are concentrated in the mountainous central Appalachians and the smallest flood peaks are concentrated along the low-gradient Coastal Plain and in the northeastern United States." They also found that "landfalling tropical cyclones play an important role in the mixture of flood generating mechanisms, with the frequency of tropical cyclone floods exhibiting large spatial heterogeneity over the region." And they additionally write that "warm season thunderstorm systems during the peak of the warm season and winter-spring extratropical systems contribute in complex fashion to the spatial mixture of flood frequency over the eastern United States."

Of even greater interest to the climate change debate, however, were their more basic findings that (1) "only a small fraction of stations exhibited significant linear trends," that (2) "for those stations with trends, there was a split between increasing and decreasing trends," and that (3) "no spatial structure was found for stations exhibiting trends." Thus, they were literally forced to conclude, most importantly of all, that (4) "there is little indication that human-induced climate change has resulted in increasing flood magnitudes for the eastern United States."

What it means
Contrary to the claim of most climate alarmists that global warming will lead to more frequent, more widespread and more serious floods, the eastern United States now joins a growing group of regions that provide no evidence for this contention -- as may be readily verified by perusing the multitude of items we have archived under the general heading of Floods in our Subject Index. Even in the face of a warming of the globe that many claim to have been unprecedented over the past one to two millennia, there is simply no evidence to support this untenable tenet of their gospel of fear.

Reviewed 22 September 2010