Future Flooding under a Changing Climate: Solving the Problem

July 6, 20170 Comments

The effects of climate change are starting to be felt, meaning that weather is becoming ever more unpredictable. This is having a significant impact on flood risk. With ‘once-in-a-hundred-year’ floods potentially becoming misnomers, how is the flooding industry able to keep pace, and mitigate for a changing world?

This article introduces Ambiental’s new FloodFutures™ data layers which enable easy interpretation of flood risk resulting from climate change. The article includes an introduction with key information about the new product line, as well as links to recent articles by journalists exploring the potential benefits of these products for asset managers and insurers.

Traditionally predictions of flood risk have been built using a deterministic approach which takes into account past flooding from historic records. Climate change, however, introduces the problem that flood risk might not follow the same patterns as have been seen in the past.

In order to tackle this prescient challenge, Ambiental has developed a new class of flood risk model, giving rise to the range of FloodFutures™ datasets. This new approach is based on the UK Climate Predictions developed by the Met Office, which is used to augment the historic data. Ambiental has teamed up with environmental data and reporting experts Landmark Information Group to provide this data to clients such as Wales & West Utilities who are early adopters of this technology and are using it to ensure that future risks to infrastructure, such as subsurface gas pipes, are not more vulnerable in the future.

Landmark Ambiental Flood Climate Change

Predictive flood models for a changing climate (source: Building Construction Magazine 2017)

This radical new approach to flood modelling – looking forward rather than back – is a much needed new tool for the utility, insurance and development industries.  In his article for Building Construction Magazine, Tom Telford at Landmark Information Group comments, “This future-facing data not only supports climate change risk assessments and adaptation reporting requirements now, but ultimately will also future-proof the asset and property investments of all involved”. This innovative new solution has also been featured in the Times’ Raconteur asset management supplement as a new way of assessing climate change unpredictability. The product has also recently been showcased in Intelligent Insurer as well as being featured in an article on the Croner-i news network.

Inteligent Insurer Ambiental Climate FloodChange Paul Drury

Four innovations in flood technology the industry must grasp (source: Intelligent Insurer 2017)

Incorporating  the latest river flow, rainfall and climate change predictions available, Ambiental’s new national flood models, and the ancillary supporting datasets are helping infrastructure planners gaze into the future, and decide how best to mitigate flood risk within their developments. Ten flood scenarios are presented in FloodFutures™, with data layers provided for the present day and three different emissions scenarios in three future time epochs based on UKCP09 climate predictions.

UK Climate change predictions indicate that the nation is likely to see increases in both rainfall frequency and intensity. It follows, therefore, that the risk posed by flooding will increase – and developers, planners and insurers need to be able to prepare and mitigate for this. The FloodFutures datasets will allow them to do that, presenting undefended flood extent and depth information down to the level of individual buildings or assets, meaning that considered decisions can be made regarding where to build, or how to mitigate for future risk.

Ambiental Flood - Raconteur Extreme-weather-conditions

Can we no longer predict climate risk? (source: Raconteur 2017)

Justin Butler, Chief Executive Officer of Ambiental states that “the latest climate predictions tend towards future increases in precipitation, it is therefore essential to take this into consideration when analysing long term investment decisions. More frequent and intense rainfall will result in more regular and extensive flooding events, leading to increased risk of erosion. Ambiental has analysed complex climate data predictions to build a unique suite of modelled flood layers which reveal important insights about our future flood landscape.”

To discover more about Ambiental’s range of solutions for managing flood risk visit our website. And to enquire about FloodFutures™ or other UK and international products and services contact us. Follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook and join us on LinkedIn to stay updated with flood news and innovations.

 

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About the Author ()

Paul Drury is the GIS Data Manager at Ambiental. His role includes project management of production operations and reporting back to stakeholders. He also oversees the preparation, integration and quality assurance checking of data assets. Paul is an expert in GIS and data analysis with a developed understanding of the environmental data industry and underlying technical concepts. He has a BSc (hons) in Environmental Sciences from the University of Brighton.

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