Toward an adequate level of detail in flood risk assessments
Flood risk assessments require different disciplines to understand and model the underlying components hazard, exposure, and vulnerability. Many methods and data sets have been refined considerably to cover more details of spatial, temporal, or process information. We compile case studies indicating that refined methods and data have a considerable effect on the overall assessment of flood risk. But are these improvements worth the effort? The adequate level of detail is typically unknown and prioritization of improvements in a specific component is hampered by the lack of an overarching view on flood risk. Consequently, creating the dilemma of potentially being too greedy or too wasteful with the resources available for a risk assessment. A “sweet spot” between those two would use methods and data sets that cover all relevant known processes without using resources inefficiently. We provide three key questions as a qualitative guidance toward this “sweet spot.” For quantitative decision support, more overarching case studies in various contexts are needed to reveal the sensitivity of the overall flood risk to individual components. This could also support the anticipation of unforeseen events like the flood event in Germany and Belgium in 2021 and increase the reliability of flood risk assessments.
Sieg, T., Kienzler, S., Rözer, V., Vogel, K., Rust, H., Bronstert, A., Kreibich, H., Merz, B., & Thieken, A. H. (2023). Toward an adequate level of detail in flood risk assessments. Journal of Flood Risk Management, e12889. https://doi.org/10.1111/jfr3.12889