Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1088/1748-9326/ad22b9
Licence creative commons licence
Title (Primary) Spatial counterfactuals to explore disastrous flooding
Author Merz, B.; Nguyen, V.D.; Guse, B.; Han, L.; Guan, X.; Rakovec, O. ORCID logo ; Samaniego, L. ORCID logo ; Ahrens, B.; Vorogushyn, S.
Source Titel Environmental Research Letters
Year 2024
Department CHS
Volume 19
Issue 4
Page From art. 044022
Language englisch
Topic T5 Future Landscapes
Data and Software links
Abstract Flood-prone people and decision-makers are often unwilling to discuss and prepare for exceptional events, as such events are hard to perceive and out of experience for most people. Once an exceptional flood occurs, affected people and decision-makers are able to learn from this event. However, this learning is often focussed narrowly on the specific disaster experienced, thus missing an opportunity to explore and prepare for even more severe, or different, events. We propose spatial counterfactual floods as a means to motivate society to discuss exceptional events and suitable risk management strategies. We generate a set of extreme floods across Germany by shifting observed rainfall events in space and then propagating these shifted fields through a flood model. We argue that the storm tracks that caused past floods could have developed several tens of km away from the actual tracks. The set of spatial counterfactual floods generated contains events which are more than twice as severe as the most disastrous flood since 1950 in Germany. Moreover, regions that have been spared from havoc in the past should not feel safe, as they could have been badly hit as well. We propose spatial counterfactuals as a suitable approach to overcome society's unwillingness to think about and prepare for exceptional floods expected to occur more frequently in a warmer world.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Merz, B., Nguyen, V.D., Guse, B., Han, L., Guan, X., Rakovec, O., Samaniego, L., Ahrens, B., Vorogushyn, S. (2024):
Spatial counterfactuals to explore disastrous flooding
Environ. Res. Lett. 19 (4), art. 044022 10.1088/1748-9326/ad22b9