Articles | Volume 10, issue 10
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 10, 2145–2159, 2010
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-10-2145-2010
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 10, 2145–2159, 2010
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-10-2145-2010

  11 Oct 2010

11 Oct 2010

Influence of flood frequency on residential building losses

F. Elmer1, A. H. Thieken2, I. Pech1, and H. Kreibich1 F. Elmer et al.
  • 1Helmholtz Centre Potsdam German Research Centre for Geosciences GFZ, Section Hydrology, Telegrafenberg, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
  • 2Climate Service Center (CSC), Bundesstraße 45a, 20146 Hamburg, Germany

Abstract. For the purpose of flood risk analysis, reliable loss models are an indispensable need. The most common models use stage-damage functions relating damage to water depth. They are often derived from empirical flood loss data (i.e. loss data collected after a flood event). However, object specific loss data (e.g. losses of single residential buildings) from recent flood events in Germany showed higher average losses in less probable events, regardless of actual water level. Hence, models that were derived from such data tend to overestimate losses caused by more probable events. Therefore, it is the aim of the study to analyse the relation between flood damage and recurrence interval and to propose a method for considering recurrence interval in flood loss modelling. The survey was based on residential building loss data (n=2158) of recent flood events in 2002, 2005 and 2006 in Germany and on-site recurrence interval of the respective events. We discovered a highly significant positive correlation between loss extent and recurrence interval for classified water levels as well as increasing average losses for longer recurrence intervals within each class. The application of principal component analysis revealed the interrelation between factors that influence the damage extent directly or indirectly, and recurrence interval. No single factor or component could be identified that explained the influence of recurrence interval, which led to the conclusion that recurrence interval cannot substitute, but complement other damage influencing factors in flood loss modelling approaches. Finally, a method was developed to include recurrence interval in typical flood loss models and make them applicable to a wider range of flood events. Validation including statistical error analysis showed that the modified models improve loss estimates in comparison to traditional approaches. The proposed multi-parameter model FLEMOps+r performs particularly well.

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