Flood hazard map of the World - 500-year return period

Collection: FLOODS : River Flood Hazard Maps at European and Global Scale 


The map depicts flood prone areas at global scale for flood events with 500-year return period. Resolution is 30 arcseconds (approx. 1km). Cell values indicate water depth (in m). NOTE: this dataset is based on JRC elaborations and is not an official flood hazard map (for details and limitations please refer to related publications).


Peter.SALAMON (at) ec.europa.eu


How to cite

Dottori, Francesco; Alfieri, Lorenzo; Salamon, Peter; Bianchi, Alessandra; Feyen, Luc; Hirpa, Feyera (2016): Flood hazard map of the World - 500-year return period. European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC) [Dataset] PID: http://data.europa.eu/89h/jrc-floods-floodmapgl_rp500y-tif


flood hazard global map

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  • Flood hazard map of the World - 500-year return period


Publication 2016
The credibility challenge for global fluvial flood risk analysis
Trigg M; Birch C; Neal J; Bates P; Smith A; Sampson C; Yamazaki D; Hirabayashi Y; Pappenberger F; Dutra E; Ward P; Winsemius H; Salamon P; Dottori F; Rudari R; Kappes M; Simpson A; Hadzilacos G; Fewtrell T. The credibility challenge for global fluvial flood risk analysis. ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH LETTERS 11 (9); 2016. p. 094014. JRC102849
Publication page 
  • Abstract

    Quantifying flood hazard is an essential component of resilience planning, emergency response, and mitigation, including insurance. Traditionally undertaken at catchment and national scales, recently, efforts have intensified to estimate flood risk globally to better allow consistent and equitable decision making. Global flood hazard models are now a practical reality, thanks to improvements in numerical algorithms, global datasets, computing power, and coupled modelling frameworks. Outputs of these models are vital for consistent quantification of global flood risk and in projecting the impacts of climate change. However, the urgency of these tasks means that outputs are being used as soon as they are made available and before such methods have been adequately tested. To address this, we compare multi-probability flood hazard maps for Africa from six global models and show wide variation in their flood hazard, economic loss and exposed population estimates, which has serious implications for model credibility. While there is around 30%–40% agreement in flood extent, our results show that even at continental scales, there are significant differences in hazard magnitude and spatial pattern between models, notably in deltas, arid/semi-arid zones and wetlands. This study is an important step towards a better understanding of modelling global flood hazard, which is urgently required for both current risk and climate change projections.

Publication 2015
Development and evaluation of a framework for global flood hazard mapping
Dottori F, Salamon P, Bianchi A, Alfieri L, Hirpa F, Feyen L. Development and evaluation of a framework for global flood hazard mapping. ADVANCES IN WATER RESOURCES 94; 2015. p. 87-102. JRC93811
Publication page 
  • Abstract

    Nowadays, the development of high-resolution flood hazard models have become feasible at continental and global scale, and their application in developing countries and data-scarce regions can be extremely helpful to increase preparedness of population and reduce catastrophic impacts. The present work describes the development of a novel procedure for global flood hazard mapping, based on the most recent advances in large scale flood modelling. We derive a long-term dataset of daily river discharges from the global hydrological simulations of the Global Flood Awareness System (GloFAS). Streamflow data is downscaled on a high resolution river network and processed to provide the input for local flood inundation simulations, performed with a two-dimensional hydrodynamic model. All flood-prone areas identified along the river network are then merged to create continental flood hazard maps for different return periods at 30’’ resolution. We evaluate the performance of our methodology in several large river basins by comparing simulated flood maps with a mosaic of flooded areas detected from satellite images for the same reference period. We further investigate the sensitivity of the flood modelling framework to different parameters and modelling approaches and identify strengths, limitations and possible improvements of the methodology.

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Published by
European Commission, Joint Research Centre
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Environment, Science and technology
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