The challenge of unprecedented floods and droughts in risk management


Many of our Fellows (Elisa SavelliJohanna Mård, Maurizio Mazzoleni, Elena Ridolfi,) contributed to an analysis which was just published in Nature, aimed at better understanding challenges posed by unprecedented #droughts and #floods. The paper's senior author is CNDS Director, Giuliano Di Baldassarre who was one of the coordinators for data collection, study design and analysis. 

a, Location of flood and drought paired events (n = 45). Numbers are paired-event IDs. b, Indicators of change, sorted by impact change. Impact is considered to be controlled by hazard, exposure and vulnerability, which are exacerbated by risk management shortcomings. Maps of the paired events coloured according to drivers and management shortcomings are shown in Extended Data Fig. 1.

The management of risks contributed to reducing the vulnerability to floods and droughts but due to a lack of empirical data, an improved understanding of the causes of the increasing impacts has been hampered. 45 pairs of events that occurred within the same area have been analysed to show that risk management generally reduces the impacts of floods and droughts but faces difficulties in reducing the impacts of unprecedented events of a magnitude not previously experienced.

The article has already received broad media attention, with, inter alia, CNN publishing an interview with one of the co-authors on the topic. The interview can be accessed on CNN's website.

"The observed difficulty of managing unprecedented events is alarming, given that more extreme hydrological events are projected owing to climate change".

The entire article is accessible on Nature's website