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Residual flood damage under intensive adaptation


The risk of river flooding is expected to increase with climate change and socioeconomic development, and therefore additional protection measures are required to reduce the potential for increased flood damage. While studies have investigated the effectiveness of adaptation measures to reduce flood risks, none has evaluated residual flood damage (RFD), which reflects the projected increase in damage under intensive adaptation. Here we evaluate RFD under several adaptation objectives using an inundation model incorporating damage estimates and a cost–benefit analysis, and estimate that China, India and Latin American countries can achieve higher levels of flood protection that will reduce RFD even under extreme scenarios. However, a high RFD (exceeding 0.1% of subnational administrative gross domestic product) remains, especially in eastern China, northern India and central Africa. RFD could be reduced with shorter construction periods or lower adaptation costs, implying the need for immediate and appropriate adaptation actions, including enhanced financial support for high-risk regions.

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Fig. 1: Future flood protection levels for the optimized adaption objective.
Fig. 2: RFD as a proportion of the subnational administrative GDP for the optimized adaptation objective.
Fig. 3: Probability of high RFD (>0.05% of the subnational administrative GDP) in all scenarios.

Data availability

Data generated and analysed during this study are available for research purposes at The S14 forcing dataset is from The MATSIRO is downloadable from a password-protected CVS repository held by The University of Tokyo on request. The CaMa-Flood is from The GRUPM population distribution and national mask are from The future GDP per capita are from Additional datasets used for the modelling are available from the corresponding author upon request.

Code availability

The code used for the modelling framework is available at


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This research was supported by the Environment Research and Technology Development Fund (JPMEERF20202005) of the Environmental Restoration and Conservation Agency of Japan, a JSPS Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (18H01540), the Integrated Research Program for Advancing Climate Models (TOUGOU) (JPMXD0717935457) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Japan and MS&AD InterRisk Research & Consulting, Inc. The authors are also grateful to the anonymous reviewers for providing valuable comments, which helped to improve the manuscript.

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Authors and Affiliations



M.T. developed the database, designed the modelling framework, conducted the analysis and made the figures. M.T. and Y.H. contributed to the analysis of results. R.T., H.A. and M.T. performed the inundation model simulations. M.T. and Y.H. wrote the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Masahiro Tanoue.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Peer review information Nature Climate Change thanks Daniel Eisenberg and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Supplementary Information

Supplementary Figs. 1–18 and Tables 1–8.

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Tanoue, M., Taguchi, R., Alifu, H. et al. Residual flood damage under intensive adaptation. Nat. Clim. Chang. 11, 823–826 (2021).

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