Effects of variability in probable maximum precipitation patterns on flood losses

Andreas Paul Zischg*, Guido Felder, Rolf Weingartner, Niall Quinn, Gemma Coxon, Jeffrey Neal, Jim Freer, Paul Bates

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

7 Citations (Scopus)
208 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The assessment of the impacts of extreme floods is important for dealing with residual risk, particularly for critical infrastructure management and for insurance purposes. Thus, modelling of the probable maximum flood (PMF) from probable maximum precipitation (PMP) by coupling hydrological and hydraulic models has gained interest in recent years. Herein, we examine whether variability in precipitation patterns exceeds or is below selected uncertainty factors in flood loss estimation and if the flood losses within a river basin are related to the probable maximum discharge at the basin outlet. We developed a model experiment with an ensemble of probable maximum precipitation scenarios created by Monte Carlo simulations. For each rainfall pattern, we computed the flood losses with a model chain and benchmarked the effects of variability in rainfall distribution with other model uncertainties. The results show that flood losses vary considerably within the river basin and depend on the timing and superimposition of the flood peaks from the basin's sub-catchments. In addition to the flood hazard component, the other components of flood risk, exposure, and vulnerability contribute remarkably to the overall variability. This leads to the conclusion that the estimation of the probable maximum expectable flood losses in a river basin should not be based exclusively on the PMF. Consequently, the basin-specific sensitivities to different precipitation patterns and the spatial organization of the settlements within the river basin need to be considered in the analyses of probable maximum flood losses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2759-2773
Number of pages15
JournalHydrology and Earth System Sciences
Volume22
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2018

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