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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2020-40
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2020-40
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 24 Feb 2020

Submitted as: research article | 24 Feb 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Are flood damage models converging to reality? Lessons learnt from a blind test

Daniela Molinari1, Anna Rita Scorzini2, Chiara Arrighi3, Francesca Carisi4, Fabio Castelli3, Alessio Domeneghetti4, Alice Gallazzi1, Marta Galliani1, Frédéric Grelot5, Patric Kellermann6, Heidi Kreibich6, Guilherme S. Mohor7, Markus Mosimann8, Stephanie Natho7, Claire Richert5, Kai Schroeter6, Annegret H. Thieken7, Andreas Paul Zischg8, and Francesco Ballio1 Daniela Molinari et al.
  • 1Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Piazza Leonardo da Vinci 32, 20133, Milano, Italy
  • 2Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, University of L'Aquila, Via Gronchi 18, 67100, L'Aquila, Italy
  • 3Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Florence, Piazza San Marco 4, 50121, Firenze, Italy
  • 4Department of Civil, Chemical, Environmental and Material Engineering, University of Bologna, Viale Risorgimento, 2 – 40136, Bologna, Italy
  • 5G-EAU, Univ Montpellier, AgroParisTech, CIRAD, IRD, INRAE, Montpellier SupAgro, Montpellier, France
  • 6GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Section Hydrology, Telegrafenberg, 14473, Potsdam, Germany
  • 7Institute of Environmental Science and Geography, University of Potsdam, Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse 24–25, 14476, Potsdam, Germany
  • 8Institute of Geography, Mobiliar Lab for Natural Risks, Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Bern,Hallerstrasse 12, 3012, Bern, Switzerland

Abstract. Effective flood risk management requires a realistic estimation of flood losses. However, available flood damage estimates are still characterised by significant levels of uncertainty, questioning the capacity of flood damage models to depict real damages. With a joint effort of eight international research groups, the objective of this study was to compare the performances of different damage models for the estimation of the direct flood damage to the residential sector at the building level (i.e. micro scale) in a blind validation test. The test consisted in a common flood case study characterised by high availability of hazard and building data, but with undisclosed information on observed losses in the implementation stage of the models. The selected nine models were chosen in order to guarantee a good mastery of the models by the research teams, variety of the modelling approaches and heterogeneity of the original calibration context, in relation to both hazard and vulnerability features. By avoiding possible biases in model implementation, this blind comparison provided more objective insights on the transferability of the models and on the reliability of their estimations, especially regarding the potentials of local and multi-variable models. From another perspective, the exercise allowed to increase authors’ awareness on strengths and limits of flood damage modelling, which are summarised in the paper in the form of take-home messages from a modeller's perspective.

Daniela Molinari et al.

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Daniela Molinari et al.

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Short summary
Flood risk management requires a realistic estimation of flood losses. However, the capacity of available flood damage models to depict real damages is questionable. With a joint effort of eight research groups, the objective of this study was to compare the performances of nine models for the estimation of flood damage to buildings. The comparison provided more objective insights on the transferability of the models and on the reliability of their estimations.
Flood risk management requires a realistic estimation of flood losses. However, the capacity of...
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