NWO VIDI – Compound risk of river and coastal floods in global deltas and estuaries

Abstract

Globally, floods cause thousands of fatalities and billions of Euros of damage per year. Hence, several global models have been developed to assess the impacts of either river or coastal floods. However, the socioeconomic impacts of flooding in deltas and estuaries are even worse when river and coastal floods coincide, such as during the devastating floods in Thailand in 2011 and typhoon Haiyan in 2013. Since current global flood risk models assess either river or coastal flood processes, they cannot be used to examine the influence of such compound river and coastal flood processes on flood risk.

The proposed research fills this knowledge gap. I will develop the first globally applicable model for consistently assessing flood hazard (flood extent and depth) at the river-coast interface. I will use physical models and statistical methods to generate time-series of river discharge and storm surge of unprecedented length (~1,000-10,000 years), and apply advanced statistical methods to assess their temporal dependency in the world’s major deltas and estuaries. I will develop a state-of-the-art risk model to assess how these compound floods influence risk in several case-study deltas and estuaries.

The societal objective of contributing to improved global flood risk management is facilitated through in-depth case studies with key stakeholders, including: the Red Cross, for improved flood-preparedness planning, allowing for improved distribution of food and medicines prior to floods; the World Bank, for making more informed trade-offs between different risk management strategies with the highest benefit for society; and the reinsurance industry for reducing the uncertainty in risk estimates across their portfolios, which can lead to lower premiums.
The proposed research combines my current expertise on global river flood risk modelling and global storm surge modelling, and bridges my extensive networks in academia and practice, thereby enabling high-impact science with broad and demonstrable societal value.

Team

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Name
Designation
Short Description
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Philip Ward
Philip Ward
Associate Professor - Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Project Leader

Anaïs Couasnon
Anaïs Couasnon
PhD researcher - Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Probabilistic modelling, compound flood risk

Dirk Eilander
Dirk Eilander
PhD researcher - Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Catchment hydrology, hydrodynamics, natural hazards, risk assessments, climate change, adaptation, big data, spatial analysis.

Hessel Winsemius
Hessel Winsemius
Post-Doc - Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

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