Document / Publication
Global Environmental Change, volume 35, November 2015, pp. 199–212, doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2015.09.004
This study illustrates a novel procedure to assess the future flood risk in Europe under high levels of warming. It combines ensemble projections of extreme streamflow for the current century based on EURO-CORDEX RCP 8.5 climate scenarios with recent advances in European flood hazard mapping. Further novelties include a threshold-based evaluation of extreme event magnitude and frequency, an alternative method to removing bias in climate projections, the latest pan-European exposure maps, and an improved flood vulnerability estimation.
Estimates of population affected and direct flood damages indicate that by the end of the century the socio-economic impact of river floods in Europe is projected to increase by an average 220% due to climate change only. When coherent socio-economic development pathways are included in the assessment, central estimates of population annually affected by floods range between 500,000 and 640,000 in 2050, and between 540,000 and 950,000 in 2080, as compared to 216,000 in the current climate. A larger range is foreseen in the annual flood damage, currently of 5.3 B€, which is projected to rise at 20–40 B€ in 2050 and 30–100 B€ in 2080, depending on the future economic growth.