“That is why improved modelling and simulation of these flood events is so critical in protecting both people’s lives and livelihoods from the effects of climate change.”
Globally, nearly one billion people are potentially exposed to the risk of flooding, with around 300 million on average being impacted by floods in any given year.
Faced with this vast societal challenge, reliable tools are urgently needed to predict how flood hazard and exposure will change in the years and decades to come.
Existing state-of-the-art Global Flood Models (GFMs) are used to simulate the probability of flooding across the Earth, but they are not without their limitations.
Professor Darby said: “Existing Global Flood Models do not represent the ways in which river channels and floodplains change through time through erosion and sedimentation. These GFMs instead treat rivers as fixed 'static pipes’.”
If rivers become shallower or wider, then their capacity to contain floods changes over time. Existing models which neglect this process therefore make poor predictions over the long term. It is this limitation that the EvoFlood team will tackle.
Using the latest advances in using cell phone technology to track shifting populations, the new models will also provide a greater understanding of how communities are exposed – and respond – to flood events.
Professor Parsons said: “The project outputs, including new flood hazard and risk maps, will be shared on open platforms, accessible to all, benefiting scientists, policy-makers, humanitarian agencies and societies across the globe.”