Global flood risk and adaptation

Floods cause billions of dollars of economic damage each year, and this is expected to increase in the future due to socioeconomic development and climate change‎. To limit these losses, and to protect people and their livelihoods from flooding, adaptation actions are required that take into account both current and future risk. Designing such actions requires scientific methods and models to assess flood risk, and tools to assess the influence of adaptations actions on risk.

The user-need for flood risk information in regions not covered by high-resolution local flood risk models has driven the development of the first generation of global flood risk models. In this lecture, the development of these models will be described, with a focus on their use in flood risk management and adaptation planning.

Examples will be drawn from on the ground applications, such as assessments of state-level flood risk in Nigeria and Eastern Europe and Central Asia for the World Bank; as well as large scale applications for global adaptation planning with OECD and UN organisations. A global tool for translating global flood risk data into actionable information will be demonstrated, namely Aqueduct Global Flood Analyzer.

Finally, limitations, knowledge gaps, and future research needs in global flood risk modelling will be addressed, as well as ongoing activities to use global flood risk models to assess the costs and benefits of global adaptation and to bridge the current gap between local and global models.