Journal cover Journal topic
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
05 Jan 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).
Efficient pan-European river flood hazard modelling through a combination of statistical and physical models
Dominik Paprotny, Oswaldo Morales-Nápoles, and Sebastiaan N. Jonkman Department of Hydraulic Engineering, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology, Stevinweg 1, 2628 CN Delft, The Netherlands
Abstract. Flood hazard is being analysed with ever-more complex models on national, continental and global scales. In this paper we investigate an alternative, simplified approach, which combines statistical and physical models in order to carry out flood mapping for Europe. Estimates of extreme river discharges made using a Bayesian Network-based model from a previous study are employed instead of rainfall-runoff models. Those data provide flood scenarios for simulation of water flow in European rivers with a catchment area above 100 km2. The simulations are performed using a one-dimensional steady-state hydraulic model and the results are post-processed using geographical information system (GIS) software in order to derive flood zones. This approach is validated by comparison with Joint Research Centre's (JRC) pan-European map and five local flood studies from different countries. Overall, both our and JRC's maps have similar performance in recreating flood zones of local maps. The simplified approach achieved similar level of accuracy, while substantially reducing the computational time. The paper also presents the summarized results from the flood hazard maps, including future projections. We find that relatively small changes in flood hazard are observed (increase of flood zones area by 2–4 %). However, when current flood protection standards are taken into account, there is a sharp increase in flood-prone area in the future (28–38 % for a 1000 year return period). This is because in many parts of Europe river discharge with the same return period is projected to increase in the future, thus making the protection standards insufficient.

Citation: Paprotny, D., Morales-Nápoles, O., and Jonkman, S. N.: Efficient pan-European river flood hazard modelling through a combination of statistical and physical models, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., doi:10.5194/nhess-2017-4, in review, 2017.
Dominik Paprotny et al.
Dominik Paprotny et al.

Data sets

Pan-European data sets of river flood probability of occurrence under present and future climate
D. Paprotny and O. Morales Nápoles
Dominik Paprotny et al.


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