Multiform flood events must be appropriately defined to avoid misrepresentation of climate risk, to prioritize action in areas with disproportionate impact

2022-07-27

One of the most recent articles published on the topic of flood risk in the contemporary world is released in the August edition of the Environmental Research Letters Journal (vol 17, no.8) under the title Multiform flood risk in a rapidly changing world: what we do not do, what we should and why it matters. Co-authored by well-known scientists in the fields of hydrology, climate and disaster science of whom one is CNDS Director, Giuliano Di Baldassarre and led by Andrew Kruczkiewicz, the article identifies challenges and potential consequences related to the oversimplification of disaster type representation in risk assessment and adaptation program design, focusing on non- or mis-assignment of flood type.

The publication provides the scientific, humanitarian, policy and financial communities with new insights in improving multiform flood risk assessment and policy development, such as disaggregation by flood subtype, the resilience of investors' balance sheets, implications for financial stability and climate risk disclosure, appropriate prioritization of resources for humanitarian action, and roles for the private sector, etc.

In order to address the trans-disciplinary knowledge gaps identified by the authors, they propose designing incentive structures for the financial sector to disclose disaster risk in a more disaggregated way,  improving modelling and characterization of multiform flood risks and leveraging satellite data to characterize this risk. They also state the importance of risk communication, and how new standards in messaging could save lives by clearly stating which types of disasters, such as flood types, are captured – and which are not.

“The COVID-19 pandemic reminded us that compound events can and will occur, further increasing demand for compound risk assessments, as well as for efforts to tailor them to specific sectors and spatiotemporal contexts.”

The article provides evidence-based trans-sectoral recommendations to enable joint efforts for more effective anticipatory action, risk reduction and resilience building and can be accessed on IOPScience: https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/ac7ed9/meta.

Author to whom any correspondence should be addressed:  Andrew Kruczkiewicz, andrewk@iri.columbia.edu.

Last modified: 2023-02-01