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September 29, 2017

Special Session on Global Flood Models held at the ICFM7 conference

The 7th International Conference on Flood Management (ICFM7) was held at the University of Leeds, UK on 5 -7 September 2017, and was organised by water@leeds, the water research centre at the University of Leeds, in conjunction with a range of conference partners and sponsors. The theme of ICFM7 was ‘Resilience to Climate Change – Anticipating the Unexpected’ and focused on building resilience into current flood management strategies and approaches.

A Special Session on Global Flood Models was organised by the Global Flood Partnership at the ICFM7 conference.

Session Title: “Global Flood Models: From theory to practice”

Session conveners:

  • Mark Trigg, University Academic Fellow – Water Related Risk, School of Civil Engineering, University of Leeds, UK
  • Jeffrey Neal, Lecturer, School of Geography, University of Bristol, UK
  • Philip Ward, Associate Professor, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam / VU, Netherlands

Session Description

Global Flood Models (GFMs) are now a practical reality and their outputs are being actively used for flood hazard mapping as well as flood early warning. The use of these models is particularly attractive in contexts where application of traditional flood management modelling methods would be challenging due to lack of data, or scale and access issues. For many of the models, especially those associated with the Global Flood Partnership, outputs are freely available and they also offer a consistent approach across multiple global regions, which is of great interest to international and national organisations. However, with all new methods and data come a host of application opportunities and challenges. This session explored this exciting nascent field and presentations were given from those involved with all aspects of the development and application of GFMs to the field of flood risk management.

Session Abstracts

  1. The case for using early flood forecasts from the Global Flood Awareness System. Mr Ervin Zsoter, European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), United Kingdom
  2. Study on compound effects of fluvial flood and storm surge using a global river-coast coupling model. Hiroaki Ikeuchi, The University of Tokyo, Japan
  3. From small to large scales: the potential of 2D numerical flood models for geographically large areas. Ms Iuliia Shustikova, University of Bologna, Italy
  4. Global hydrological modelling from National Hydrological Services’ Perspective. Mr Jan Daňhelka, Czech Hydrometeorological Institute, Czech Republic
  5. Application of a Bayesian Network-based hydrologic model to the contiguous United States, Mr Dominik Paprotny, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands
  6. The application of a global flood model for national flood risk assessment in Belize, Dr Mark Trigg, University of Leeds, United Kingdom
  7. Providing impact based flood forecasts at global level. Mr Peter Salamon, European Commission – Joint Research Centre, Italy
  8. Estimation of river bathymetry in regional scale flood inundation models. Dr Jeffrey Neal, University of Bristol, United Kingdom

Challenges and opportunities identified and discussed:

  • Are these models good enough to be used for real management decisions?
  • What scale limitations apply to their application and how do we localise the global outputs to have meaningful local relevance?
  • What can we learn from examples where they have been used already?
  • How do we improve the physical process representation in the models and what are the data challenges associated with this?
  • What level of physical process detail is necessary within the context of the application and data uncertainty?
  • With more ready access to the outputs through webtools, does this bring a wider inclusiveness to flood management and therefore an urgency to communication the uncertainty of the outputs to a wider audience?
  • As model physics, resolution and computing improve, what are the opportunities for these models to compliment traditional flood modelling?


Join us in the defining, shaping, structuring and launch of the Global Flood Partnership