Journal cover Journal topic
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2017-349
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
16 Oct 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).
Improving accuracy and quantifying uncertainty in flood loss estimations through the use of multi-model ensembles
Rui Figueiredo1,2, Kai Schröter2, Alexander Weiss-Motz2, Mario L. V. Martina1, and Heidi Kreibich2 1Scuola Universitaria Superiore IUSS Pavia, Pavia, Italy
2GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Section 5.4: Hydrology, Potsdam, Germany
Abstract. Flood loss modelling is a crucial part of risk assessments. However, it is subject to large uncertainty that is often neglected. Most models available in the literature are deterministic, providing only single point estimates of flood loss, and large disparities tend to exist among them. Adopting any one such model in a risk assessment context is likely to lead to inaccurate loss estimates and sub-optimal decision-making. In this paper, we propose the use of multi-model ensembles to address such issues. This approach, which has been applied successfully in other scientific fields, is based on the combination of different model outputs with the aim of improving the skill and usefulness of predictions. Using twenty flood loss models in two test cases, we demonstrate that multi-model ensembles can be a simple and pragmatic way to consistently obtain more accurate flood loss estimates and reliable probability distributions of model uncertainty. We also discuss how such ensembles can be constructed.

Citation: Figueiredo, R., Schröter, K., Weiss-Motz, A., Martina, M. L. V., and Kreibich, H.: Improving accuracy and quantifying uncertainty in flood loss estimations through the use of multi-model ensembles, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2017-349, in review, 2017.
Rui Figueiredo et al.
Rui Figueiredo et al.
Rui Figueiredo et al.

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Short summary
Flood loss modelling is subject to large uncertainty that is often neglected. Most models are deterministic, and large disparities exist among them. Adopting a single model may lead to inaccurate loss estimates and sub-optimal decision-making. This paper proposes the use of multi-model ensembles to address such issues. We demonstrate that this can be a simple and pragmatic approach to obtain more accurate loss estimates and reliable probability distributions of model uncertainty.
Flood loss modelling is subject to large uncertainty that is often neglected. Most models are...
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