Rain in Spain causes financial difficulties – POLITICO

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Scientists missed a critical factor when estimating the economic impact of climate change – rainy days – according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

“More rainy days: bad for the economy,” said Leonie Wenz, deputy director of the department of complexity sciences at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and one of the authors of the research. “Droughts, extreme precipitation and the number of wet days… are all changing as a result of climate change. ”

A survey of 1,554 regions in 77 countries found that companies were ill-equipped to deal with unusual weather conditions.

The effect of even small changes was substantial. An increase in the number of rainy days normally expected over a six-year period could reduce annual economic growth by more than 1 percentage point. More extreme storms and droughts also hurt.

In already humid regions like Northern Europe, the impact of more umbrella days was lower than in normally sunny countries where companies were less suited to working in the rain.

In places like Spain, unusually heavy rainfall can cause serious disruption that impacts the economy. After a record summer heat wave, Madrid was hit in August by the second worst summer storm in the past 100 years. The flood brought the city to a standstill, inundating tunnels, disrupting metro and regional train services, and clogging highways with traffic jams caused by weather accidents.

The effect of additional rains is not always so dramatic, but the cumulative effect of more frequent and intense downpours can delay workers, disrupt supply chains and cause minor damage from small-scale flooding. or the fall of tree branches, which can have a significant economic impact. .

“In general, anything that is a deviation from what we’re used to can be bad,” Wenz said.

“These costs have not yet been factored into estimates of the costs of climate change,” said Manuel Linsenmeier, a researcher at the London School of Economics who was not involved in the study.

Rich countries have been hit hardest, with their larger service and manufacturing sectors more vulnerable to increased rains than developing countries, where agriculture typically accounts for a larger share of the economy, found the scientists.

This is “bad news,” said Linsenmeier, because “the extent to which economic development can be used to cushion precipitation shocks in the face of future climate change appears to be limited.”

The problem is expected to worsen as climate change disrupts precipitation regimes.

“If we don’t stabilize the climate, it will be so much more expensive,” Wenz said.

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