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Usefulness and limitations of global flood risk models

Global flood risk models were developed to identify risk hotspots in a world with increasing flood occurrence. Here we assess the ability and limitations of the current models and suggest what is needed moving forward.

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Figure 1: Example hazard data from a global flood model, overlaid on impervious surface area (ISA) data27 as an indicator of exposure.


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This project was funded by a VENI grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (grant no. 863.11.011). The findings are drawn from workshops and discussions between users and modellers at the Understanding Risk Forum in London, 2014, the European Geosciences Union General Assembly in Vienna, 2015, and the Global Flood Partnership annual meeting in Boulder, 2015. We thank the participants of these events for their valuable contributions. The Uganda Red Cross forecast-based financing pilot is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. The World Bank Caribbean Risk Information Programme ( is financed by the European Union-funded ACP-EU Natural Disaster Risk Reduction Program and managed by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery.

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Correspondence to Philip J. Ward.

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Ward, P., Jongman, B., Salamon, P. et al. Usefulness and limitations of global flood risk models. Nature Clim Change 5, 712–715 (2015).

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