EXPERTS say floods which caused devastation across Cumbria were the worst in nearly 600 years.

Academics have carried out detail work into the force behind Storm Desmond in 2015 and severe floods that came before it in 2009.

“Which was the biggest rather depends on where you are in the Lake District,” said Richard Chiverrell, lead author of the study.

The areas around Ullswater and Brotherswater were most affected by Storm Desmond, whereas Bassenthwaite was most affected by the 2009 floods.

The magnitude of the flood levels, as well as the rising frequency in extreme events, were analysed for a study led by a team of researchers from the University of Liverpool and the University of Southampton.

They tried to understand extreme weather events by comparing sediment from the two storms to sediment from the bottom of Bassenthwaite from 558 years ago. It also uncovered the impact that climate change is having on extreme weather .

The effect that Storm Desmond had on the county was so devastating that residents, and businesses, are still recovering four years on.

In Carlisle, more than 7,000 homes were flooded and tens of thousands of people were left without electricity after 340mm of rain fell in one day.

Angie Burrow, a member of Extinction Rebellion Cumbria, said: “Having ended up effectively sitting in the middle of the River Eden during Desmond, when we are normally 1/3 mile away from it, and being trapped from Saturday to Wednesday we were aware that this was far from a normal storm.

“Global warming will increase the intensity and frequency of these events. We now need to see action put in place to try and alter the course of events.”

John Kelsall, Chairman of the Carlisle Flood Action Group, said: “We can’t have too much research, research is good.

“It’s not going to be simply a case of looking at the amount of gravel in boreholes at the bottom of lakes.

“That has to be linked with social and human activity at the same time.”

The study could help policy-makers, businesses, and insurers make predictions on the frequency and impact that future floods may have.

In April it was announced that Carlisle would be awarded with the highest levels of flood protection. Existing defences in the Melbourne Park area will be raised and extended while 1,200 properties will be protected.

Mr Chiverrell, said: “This research study places recent the extreme flooding events of the last 20 years in a far longer context, providing new insights into the frequency and magnitude of the really large flood events.”

Mr Kelsall believes that the next step for researchers is to analyse “the rivers particularly around Carlisle and show us whether or not the riverbeds are rising and where the main events were in the riverbeds.

“So, we can see the effects that the flood effects are having on the rivers not just the lakes”.