Moving flood risk modelling forwards

Elco Koks

Floods are one of the most devastating disasters and their intensity and severity is expected to increase in the future. New research shows how regional floods can cause global impacts through propagation within the global trade and supply network.

Traditionally, global flood risk assessments have primarily focused on the damage to economic assets. Writing in Nature Climate Change, Sven Willner and colleagues incorporate economic flow losses into a global flood risk modelling framework. They show how cascading effects can pose additional risks to the global economy. Their results suggest that, between 1996 and 2015, river floods could have caused around US$351 billion in direct economic losses and over US$620 billion in total economic losses, globally. These results indicate that economic flow losses can be of the same order of magnitude as asset damages. Reported global physical losses due to all flood events in the same period reached US$620 billion.