ESR 1 - Development of Future Weather techniques for flood risk assessment

Sonu Khanal

Sonu Khanal, home country Nepal

Host Institute: FutureWater Research and consultancy for a sustainable future of our water resources

Contact details:
Costerweg 1V
6702 AA Wageningen
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 317 460 050


Climate change effects on flood risk are typically visualized by analyzing ensembles of GCM simulations driven by future greenhouse gas forcings. However, the visualization power of these condensed scenarios is limited and a strong translation from the climate model world to the flood risk world is needed. This project will apply the concept of Future Weather: high-resolution simulations of weather events put in a future climate context and a high degree of tailoring the analyzed events to increase the realism of visualized climate change impacts for flood risk analysis. Much more realistic flood scenarios can thus be constructed. This approach is particularly suited to explore unprecedented events and situations that are subject to compound occurrence of events, such as the superposition of storm surge and heavy rain or snow melt and heavy rain. The Future Weather concept does not allow a robust return period estimation for these events. Complemented analysis of course-resolution projections needs to give probabilistic information. Depending on the area of interest, a different set of Future Weather techniques may be needed. The developed Future Weather techniques will therefore be validated for three different case-study river basins. This project will explore how these Future Weather scenarios can complement the traditional climate change scenario approach, and possibly contribution of this methodology to adaptation planning programs such as the Dutch Delta Program. Future Weather scenarios developed in this project will be aligned with activities carried out by ESR7.

ESR 2 - Flood change attribution: considering sources and pathways for understanding the past

Miriam Bertola, home country Italy

Host Institute: Technische Universität Wien

Contact details:
Tel: +43 1 58801-22333


Assessment of decadal changes in flood discharges and attribution of the main drivers of change. This is an inverse problem, where methods of systems identification will be used to identify, in an optimal way, the sources and drivers that have led to changes in the flood discharges and consequently flood risk. The methods will be developed by making use of flood data, climate data and catchment data from European catchments. The drivers of change considered are related to climate (changed precipitation intensities, changed circulation patterns, changed sequence of storms), catchment processes (changed snow melt conditions, changed antecedent soil moisture, changed land use and therefore infiltration and storage characteristics), and river channel processes (changed conveyance, changed flood plain storage, construction of hydraulic structures). The system identification method will be developed in cooperation with ESR14.

ESR 3 - Identification of flood hazard patterns and flood-prone areas for large regions

Ricardo Tavares da Costa

Ricardo Tavares da Costa, home country Portugal

Host Institute: GECOsistema srl

Contact details:
Viale Giosuè Carducci, 15
47521 Cesena (FC)
Tel: +39 3921135329


The EU Flood Directive requires the member states to perform comprehensive flood hazard and risk assessments on all flood-prone areas, thus implying detailed analyses for ungauged or poorly gauged basins and large floodplains where resorting to detailed and computationally demanding hydrodynamic models is not feasible. To support regional authorities in these costly tasks, this project will develop: (1) data-driven methods for estimating extreme floods over large areas, by simplified conceptualizations of the interplay between meteorological drivers and catchment processes (e.g. multivariate regional envelope of record floods); (2) simplified GIS-based methods for large-scale flood hazard mapping based on floodplain morphology and land-use, by extrapolating results from detailed hydraulic studies from the local to the large scale. In particular, the analyses will investigate the descriptiveness of different morphometric indices for characterizing and quantifying exposure to flood hazard, providing parsimonious procedures that are applicable at large spatial scales. The research activities will be performed in collaboration with AdB-Po testing the suitability of the proposed procedures for assessing flood hazard patterns at the river basin scale.

ESR 4 - Generation of boundary conditions for large-scale flood risk assessment

Dirk Diederen, home country The Netherlands

Host Institute: HR Wallingford

Contact details:
Howbery Park, Wallingford
Oxfordshire, OX10 8BA
United Kingdom
Tel: ++44 (0)1491 822 899


Large-scale flood scenarios with consistent spatial dependencies are needed in the insurance industry and for strategic, large-scale flood risk management. To date, methods that incorporate spatial dependence in a robust manner are only just emerging and these do not currently capture temporal correlations. This project will improve large-scale flood risk analysis by accounting for spatial and temporal correlation in extreme events. It will combine multivariate extreme value modelling with large-scale analysis of dominant patterns in forcing. A boundary condition generator that captures these spatial and temporal correlations will be developed and applied to UK and parts of continental Europe. Spatio-temporal boundary conditions will be generated and used for subsequent flood risk modelling by ESR8 and ESR9.

ESR 5 - Identification of large-scale flood-risk changes and adaptation strategies

Iuliia Shustikova

Iuliia Shustikova, home country Ukraine

Host Institute: Alma Mater Studiorum - Università di Bologna

Contact details:
Scuola di Ingegneria e Architettura | Dipartimento DICAM - Costruzioni idrauliche
Viale del Risorgimento, 2 - 40136, Bologna
Tel: +39 51 20 9 3357


This project proposes to assess flood-risk changes and tests adaptation strategies over large flood-prone areas by developing modelling tools which incorporate information on Hydrology and Society interactions. These tools will guide the comparison of different adaptation strategies to flood-risk change by explicitly accounting for anthropogenic changes in exposure and vulnerability to floods (e.g., land-use and population dynamics mapped through conventional census data and innovative remotely-sensed data such as distributed nightlight data, anthropogenic land-subsidence) and incorporating the effects of mitigation measures and possible failures of flood defences. Assessing flood risk over large areas under consideration of the interactions among floods, historical, current and future land-uses, population densities, topographic conditions and mitigation measures requires fast modelling schemes. Hydraulic models of different complexity (2D raster-based or coupled 1D-2D) will be merged with GIS-based tools in order to support institutions and public bodies in the definition of optimal large-scale policies for a resilient adaptation to flood-risk changes. This project has links to and will use input from several other ESR projects (ESR3: extreme flood events; ESR6, ESR7: interactions in river systems; ESR13, ESR14: damage modelling, ESR8, ESR11: mitigation strategies).

ESR 6 - Development of improved flood risk analysis methods for river deltas including the effects of defence failures on flood risk

Alex Curran

Alex Curran, home country Ireland

Host Institutes: Deltares - Flood Risk Management Department, TU Delft - Civil Engineering Faculty, Hydraulic Structures and Flood Risk Section

Contact details:
Tel: +31 62 7289688


Current flood risk management frameworks are usually deterministic, simplified or in case they are more complex their applicability is limited to small areas. This project, therefore, aims to develop and improve combined probabilistic-deterministic flood risk analysis approaches for large river deltas which take into account flood defence failures, hydrodynamic interdependencies, and flood impacts. The approach will enable a large-scale risk analysis, or a local flood risk analysis taking into account the effects of the larger system. This approach will be applied on the Lower Rhine and Po Rivers. The application will provide insight in the spatial distribution of flood risks and interdependencies between upstream and downstream risks will be investigated, e.g. effect of strengthening of upstream parts on downstream risks. The model will be developed in cooperation with ESR7 (focusing on large-scale inland river networks) and ESR8, (focusing on flood risk management strategies).

Alex Curran CV

ESR 7 - Large-scale flood risk assessment considering river-dike-floodplain interactions and related spatial risk redistribution

Maxime Liquet

Maxime Liquet, home country  France

Host Institute: German Research Centre for Geosciences GFZ, Section 5.4 Hydrology

Contact details:
Tel: +49 3312881513


Fluvial processes such as attenuation or superposition of flood waves in river networks, natural and human-controlled floodplain storage or failure of flood defences may considerably shape the spatio-temporal pattern of flood hazard and risk. These interactions between different fluvial processes are particularly important for risk assessment for policy making and reinsurance industry, yet are not considered in models at large scales. The project will develop the modelling tools and analysis techniques to quantify large-scale effects of fluvial processes (e.g. floodplain storage effects) and particularly of dike failures on the evolution of flood patterns in a large basin. The model will be applied to the Rhine catchment (links to ESR6, ESR8). In particular, the solidarity principle will be taken into account for assessment of spatio-temporal risk patterns (upstream-downstream risk shifts) and potential risk compensation measures.

ESR 8 - Development of transboundary, long-term flood risk management strategies taking into account uncertain spatial risk patterns and spatial interdependencies

Alessio Ciullo

Alessio Ciullo, home country Italy

Host Institute: Deltares

Contact details:
Tel: +31 6 42008344


Uncertainty characterizes a flood risk system by definition: from forecasting meteorological and hydrological conditions to predicting socio-economic development. Uncertain is the way river-dike interactions take place (e.g. upstream-downstream hydrodynamic interactions) as well as the impact of the expected climate change and socio-economic development. Nevertheless, policy makers are required to implement flood risk management plans over large areas and there is very little knowledge about how the uncertainties in the flood risk system affect decisions.

The present project will develop an exploratory model representative of large-scale flood risk systems with the aim of developing robust and adaptive flood risk management plans. The model will provide a spatially distributed characterisation of flood risk by paying a particular attention on how measures upstream affect flood risk downstream (upstream - downstream interactions). Several sets of strategies will be explored, spanning from structural to non-structural ones and the performance of each management strategy will be assessed with respect to a multiple, heterogeneous set of performance indicators, e.g. costs, economic damage, casualties and risk-transfer. The analysis will focus on the Lower Rhine River and the Po River (Italy) and policy recommendations will be derived for both case studies by placing emphasis on the implications of uncertainty in decision making. Close cooperation is foreseen with ESR4, ESR6, ERS7 and ESR9.

ESR 9 - Development of a new European-wide flood hazard assessment approach

Jeison Sosa

Jeison Sosa, home country Ecuador

Host Institute: University of Bristol, School of Geographical Sciences

Contact details:
Tel: +44 7957468007


Flood hazard projections at national and trans-national scales are needed for climate change studies, reinsurance pricing, emergency operations during major floods and prioritizing strategic investment. I will develop a Europe-wide probabilistic flood hazard chain by combining Europe-wide models of catchment hydrology and floodplain inundation at 100 m resolution with output from the weather generator being developed by ESR4. Yet stochastic modelling tools to develop such projections at this scale do not currently exist. The characteristics of extreme European storms that generate large-scale floods will be investigated. This allows analysing the impact of uncertainty in extreme storm data on the simulated flood risk.

Jeison Sosa CV

ESR 10 - Cascading Effects: Impacts of Extreme Events on Infrastructure and Options for Flood Policy and Climate Change Adaptation Policy

Maya Lyn Manocsoc

Maya Lyn Manocsoc, home country Philippines

Host Institute: Umweltbundesamt (German Environment Agency), FG I 1.6 KomPass - Climate Impacts and Adaptation

Contact details:
Wörlitzer Platz 1
06844 Dessau-Roßlau
Tel: +49 (0)340 2103 2834


The project aims to analyse cascading effects on flood-affected infrastructures resulting from extreme events in the next decades and their implications for flood policy and climate change adaptation policy. Based on the projected changes of extreme events (likely increase of quantity and / or intensity) and associated changes in flood hazard, the negative impacts on flood protection structures (e. g. dikes) as well as on infrastructure in the broader sense (e. g. transport or logistics supply chains) will be assessed for 3 or 4 exemplary cascading scenarios. On this basis, management options and policy measures (e.g. land-use planning, building codes) are developed which decrease the risks for flood defense and the affected infrastructure. An important criterion for appropriate measures is to attain different objectives as climate change adaptation, flood prevention, and infrastructure protection at once to achieve sectoral and cross-sectoral effectiveness in different policy fields. The analysis builds upon the competence of the project partners, in particular ESR1, ESR3, ESR5, and ESR7. An in-depth policy analysis will evaluate beneficial and/or inhibitive factors (responsibilities to implement measures, availability of resources, potential to use window of opportunities, etc.) for implementation of actions and their consequences for defense and connected infrastructures (links to ESR8, ESR11, ESR12, ESR14, ESR15) using e.g. past data analysis, interviews with experts and representatives from different policy fields or administration, and small stakeholder dialogues. Mechanisms of policy implementation will be developed and compared with other basins/countries.

Maya Lyn Manocsoc CV

ESR 11 - Assessing and evaluating the interconnections and interdependencies between flood risk management (FRM) interventions

Lydia Cumiskey, home country Ireland

Host Institute: Flood Hazard Research Centre, Middlesex University

Contact details:
Tel: +44 208 411 5913


This project involves assessing the degree to which different FRM interventions are adopted at different scales from individual to collective actions. Investigating the interconnections and interdependencies between portfolios of interventions will permit a much broader understanding of how different approaches, in particular different scales of management measures and emergency response, compensation and insurance, are adopted and able to combine to improve the overall flood risk management of systems. In particular, the task will be to examine how these different FRM interventions, combine or conflict and how they can be evaluated from social and economic perspectives. This will permit a better understanding of how integrated policies may be designed to improve the resilience to flood impacts and consequences.

ESR 12 - Investigating the indirect impacts of floods with a focus on businesses and supply chains

Friederike Holz

Friederike Holz, home country Germany

Host Institute: Flood Hazard Research Centre (FHRC) at Middlesex University, London, UK

Contact details:
Middlesex University
The Burroughs
London NW4 4BT
United Kingdom
Tel: +44(0)2084114550


With growing levels of complexity in economic networks and markets, disruptive events (e.g. caused by natural hazards such as floods) can pose a threat to the viability of a business and cause impacts that go beyond losses in the directly and physically affected areas, for example induced by a loss of production or a shortage of goods. Due to interdependencies and interactions between different stakeholders in an economic network, such impacts can propagate through an entire system in a non-linear or even amplified way (cascading effects).

These indirect impacts can account for a significant part of the full costs of a disaster, but they are rarely comprehensively assessed and the underlying processes are still insufficiently understood. Thus, there is increased attention and a need for affected businesses, decision-makers and researchers to gather improved knowledge on the indirect impacts of disasters and their propagation along supply chains, within business networks, or into neighbouring systems.

My PhD research aims to contribute to an improved understanding of indirect flood impacts on businesses. To accomplish this aim, the main approach will be the development and testing of a computational modelling framework to simulate disruptions on businesses and related supply chains through flooding and to understand underlying processes. A network perspective will be applied that comprehensively includes relations and interdependencies between different system’s components, as well as behavioural aspects and changes such as reactions to changes in the system in response to a disruption. This includes elements from the fields of flood risk research, economics, supply chain (risk) management, complex adaptive systems and network analysis. For this purpose, the use of agent-based models (ABM) as a bottom-up approach is explored.

ESR 13 - Analyses and modelling of changes in vulnerability with focus on private sector

Nivedita Sairam

Nivedita Sairam, home country India

Host Institute: German Research Centre for Geosciences GFZ, Section 5.4 Hydrology

Contact details:
Tel: +: +49 331 288-1596


The research is aimed at answering three particular questions in concepts relating to vulnerability of private households and estimated flood losses. The vulnerability of households are determined based on their adaptation to flood events. The first phase of the research aims at determining the efficiency of private precaution in reducing flood losses and also how this relationship is accounted for in existing flood loss estimation models (FLEMO). Following these analyses, the second phase aims are developing a flood loss estimation model based on causal Bayesian Networks to account for changes in vulnerability in flood loss estimation. Integrating these results in the German wide Regional Flood Model (RFM) would be the final step in my research.

Additionally, I would be analyzing the spatial transferability of my Bayesian Network based model by learning and updating the model with datasets collected from the UK floods and also comparing the model built based on empirical data collection with synthetic data for flood loss estimation as a part of my secondament in MiddleSex University.

Studies about flood risk change are currently focused on changes in flood hazard and exposure. Changes in vulnerability, e.g. changes in precaution, are so far not taken into account. The project aims at analysing past changes in vulnerability and their drivers, as well as modelling these changes for future flood risk projections. The focus is on private precaution as a main determinant of vulnerability of private households. Quantitative analyses of past changes in private precaution and their drivers will be undertaken based on a unique object-specific flood damage database (HOWAS21). To this end, data-mining approaches, in particular Random Forests and Bayesian Networks will be used yielding uncertainty estimates as well. Based on these analyses, an agent-based model will be developed to simulate changes in vulnerability for projections in the future (links with ESR12). The developed model and results will be integrated into the Regional Flood Model for Germany (RFM) undertaking flood risk analyses under past (together with ESR14) and future (together with ESR1, ESR14) changing conditions.

Nivedita Sairam CV

ESR 14 - Attribution of changes in flood risk with focus on exposure and vulnerability

A Duha Metin

A. Duha Metin, home country Turkey

Host Institute: German Research Centre for Geosciences GFZ, Section 5.4 Hydrology

Contact details:
Building C 4, room 2.32
14473 Potsdam
Tel: +49 331 288-28769


While studies on past changes in flood discharges are abundant, there are only a few studies that have investigated changes in damages and risk. My project aims at developing a method to attribute changes in flood damage and risk to different causes and to understand how different drivers have contributed to past flood risk changes in Germany. Based on a variety of information sources, e.g. a large collection of grey literature on past floods in Germany, time series of flood damages for 1950-today will be reconstructed. Using statistical analyses and risk chain modelling tools, I will quantify the contribution of different drivers (land use change, economic growth, implementation of flood defense measures, precaution etc.). My project focuses on changes in exposure and vulnerability, and is closely linked to ESR2 (focus on discharges) and ESR13 (focus on time-varying vulnerability of private households). Since data availability is significantly reduced when investigating damages, I will give emphasis to the reliability of attribution statements. To this end, I will test Bayesian fingerprinting methods for change detection and attribution.

A Duha Metin CV

ESR 15 - Socio-hydrology: understanding the generic behaviour of coupled human-flood systems at the centennial scale

Marlies Barendrecht

Marlies Barendrecht, home country  The Netherlands

Host Institute: Vienna University of Technology

Contact details:
Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management
Vienna University of Technology
Karlsplatz 13/222
A-1040 Vienna, Austria
Tel: +43 158 801 406 652


Development of generic models for understanding the coupled dynamics of flood processes and human activities at the centennial scale. While the interactions of receptors and consequences always depend on the local characteristics, it is also of interest to obtain a more generalised understanding of the coupled system dynamics. There is a new field of enquiry, termed sociohydrology, where the interest resides in exploring generalised relationships. The feasibility of this general approach has already been demonstrated for a number of simplified systems. In this project, the idea will be adopted to studying the interactions of floods and human dynamics from a long-term perspective. Typical situations of damages and response measures within the framework of the “disaster cycle” will be defined. These will be used as a starting point for developing a generic dynamic model (methodological links to ESR5 and ESR12) to represent the human-flood interactions in the phases of the disaster cycle for specific system characteristics.