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What is the benefit of flood risk prediction for our adaptation to climate change?

Flood Risk Prediction

During the summer of 2023, Greece experienced destructive fires that burned more than 1.2 million acres of land, revealing the country's lack of preparedness and inadequate planning. Furthermore, in September 2023, Storm Daniel, which swept through Bulgaria, Turkey, and Libya, also affected Greece, causing heavy rainfall and flooding in the Thessaly region. This resulted in extensive property destruction and the deaths of at least 17 people. The effects of the floods extend beyond loss of life and property damage. An indirect consequence of these devastating floods could be the potential rise of food prices, given that Thessaly contributes 5.2% to the GDP and accounts for 15% of the national agricultural production.

One of the main factors for the floods in the region of Thessaly was the overflow of the Pineios river due to excessive rainfall (>900 mm of rain in a few days), which is directly related to climate change.

Climate change is expected to significantly increase the risk of flooding in Greece and generally in Europe in the coming decades. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts that rising global temperatures will lead to more intense and frequent rainfall. In addition to heavy rainfall contributing to inland flooding, sea level is projected to rise and coastal areas in many European countries will face an increased risk of coastal flooding. The European Environment Agency (EEA) has warned that climate change could lead to a doubling of flood risk in some parts of Europe by 2050.

It is important and now essential to have tools to predict a climate-related natural disaster, for the preservation of infrastructure and the survival of people.

This is why the existence of tools for the prediction of a natural disaster is important and necessary in order to preserve infrastructure and to ensure the safety of people. These tools can help long-term strategic planning and contribute to the adaptation of cities/settlements to the challenges posed by climate change. For instance, these tools can be used to prioritize areas for the development of flood risk-based zoning plans, preliminary consideration of possible adaptation strategies, and the establishment of insurance premiums for protection against natural disasters.

To predict flooding either inland or in coastal zones, a plethora of projections (i.e. future data) is needed through modeling. Some of these data are the amount of precipitation (rainfall, snow, etc.), slope, area elevation, land use (forest, crops, settlements), distance from rivers and sea, and river runoff.

RiskClima by E-ON INTEGRATION, combines future climate risk prediction maps, opportunities, performance indicators, mitigation actions, monitoring dashboards and reports for Natural and Transitional Climate Change Risk Management.

E-On Integration has developed an integrated software, RiskClima, for the Management of Physical and Transition Climate Change Risks. The platform combines future climate risk projection maps, opportunities, performance indicators, mitigation actions, monitoring dashboards, and reports. For example, through RiskClima, the E-On Integration team created a flood risk projection map for Europe for 2030 based on the climate 4.5 RCP scenario. This map can be further adapted to each stakeholder's location of operation and different climate scenarios, helping to quantify natural flood risks.

projection map of flood risk for Europe

Figure 1. Flood projection map for Europe in 2030. Representative Concentration Pathway-RCP 4.5.

The above map shows in dark blue the areas at high risk of flooding in 2030. In Europe, these cities are located near Venice, Amsterdam, Bordeaux (France), and around Romania and Hungary, as well as in the greater Brandenburg region and west of Estonia. In Greece, the region of Thessaly is projected to be the most vulnerable in the future, even in a relatively optimistic climate scenario (RCP 4.5), and therefore has the highest risk of flooding in the future. The common characteristics among all the mentioned areas, aside from their low elevation and proximity to agricultural land, include the presence of large rivers and their tributaries in the surrounding vicinity.

The use of such maps enables countries, societies, and businesses to predict floods with a reasonable degree of certainty and to prepare properly by planning climate change adaptation and mitigation actions.


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