Articles | Volume 23, issue 2
Research article
 | Highlight paper
07 Mar 2023
Research article | Highlight paper |  | 07 Mar 2023

A climate-conditioned catastrophe risk model for UK flooding

Paul D. Bates, James Savage, Oliver Wing, Niall Quinn, Christopher Sampson, Jeffrey Neal, and Andrew Smith

Related authors

Current and future rainfall-driven flood risk from hurricanes in Puerto Rico under 1.5 and 2 °C climate change
Leanne Archer, Jeffrey Neal, Paul Bates, Emily Vosper, Dereka Carroll, Jeison Sosa, and Daniel Mitchell
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 24, 375–396,,, 2024
Short summary
Global application of a regional frequency analysis on extreme sea levels
Thomas P. Collings, Niall D. Quinn, Ivan D. Haigh, Joshua Green, Izzy Probyn, Hamish Wilkinson, Sanne Muis, William V. Sweet, and Paul D. Bates
EGUsphere,,, 2023
Short summary
An improved subgrid channel model with upwind-form artificial diffusion for river hydrodynamics and floodplain inundation simulation
Youtong Rong, Paul Bates, and Jeffrey Neal
Geosci. Model Dev., 16, 3291–3311,,, 2023
Short summary
LISFLOOD-FP 8.1: new GPU-accelerated solvers for faster fluvial/pluvial flood simulations
Mohammad Kazem Sharifian, Georges Kesserwani, Alovya Ahmed Chowdhury, Jeffrey Neal, and Paul Bates
Geosci. Model Dev., 16, 2391–2413,,, 2023
Short summary
Bare-earth DEM generation from ArcticDEM and its use in flood simulation
Yinxue Liu, Paul D. Bates, and Jeffery C. Neal
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 23, 375–391,,, 2023
Short summary

Related subject area

Hydrological Hazards
Text mining uncovers the unique dynamics of socio-economic impacts of the 2018–2022 multi-year drought in Germany
Jan Sodoge, Christian Kuhlicke, Miguel D. Mahecha, and Mariana Madruga de Brito
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 24, 1757–1777,,, 2024
Short summary
The value of multi-source data for improved flood damage modelling with explicit input data uncertainty treatment: INSYDE 2.0
Mario Di Bacco, Daniela Molinari, and Anna Rita Scorzini
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 24, 1681–1696,,, 2024
Short summary
Limited effect of the confluence angle and tributary gradient on Alpine confluence morphodynamics under intense sediment loads
Théo St. Pierre Ostrander, Thomé Kraus, Bruno Mazzorana, Johannes Holzner, Andrea Andreoli, Francesco Comiti, and Bernhard Gems
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 24, 1607–1634,,, 2024
Short summary
Does a convection-permitting regional climate model bring new perspectives on the projection of Mediterranean floods?
Nils Poncet, Philippe Lucas-Picher, Yves Tramblay, Guillaume Thirel, Humberto Vergara, Jonathan Gourley, and Antoinette Alias
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 24, 1163–1183,,, 2024
Short summary
Added value of seasonal hindcasts to create UK hydrological drought storylines
Wilson C. H. Chan, Nigel W. Arnell, Geoff Darch, Katie Facer-Childs, Theodore G. Shepherd, and Maliko Tanguy
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 24, 1065–1078,,, 2024
Short summary

Cited articles

Addor, N., Do, H. X., Alvarez-Garreton, C., Coxon, G., Fowler, K., and Mendoza, P. A.: Large-sample hydrology: recent progress, guidelines for new datasets and grand challenges, Hydrolog. Sci. J., 65, 712–725,, 2020. 
Alfieri, L., Bisselink, B., Dottori, F., Naumann, G., De Roo, A., Salamon, P., Wyser, K., and Feyen, L.: Global projections of river flood risk in a warmer world, Earths Future, 5, 171–182,, 2016. 
Allen, G. H. and Pavelsky, T. M.: Global extent of rivers and streams, Science, 6402, 585–588,, 2018. 
Almeida, G. A. M. and Bates, P.: Applicability of the local inertial approximation of the shallow water equations to flood modeling, Water Resour. Res., 49, 4833–4844,, 2013. 
Almeida, G. A. M., Bates, P., Freer, J. E., and Souvignet, M.: Improving the stability of a simple formulation of the shallow water equations for 2-D flood modeling, Water Resour. Res., 48, W05528,, 2012. 
Executive editor
The NHESS paper “A climate-conditioned catastrophe risk model for UK flooding” by Bates and colleagues presents and validates a new flood model for the UK that simulates pluvial, fluvial and coastal flood risks at a resolution of 20 to 25 metres. The authors then use their scheme to estimate the probability-loss distribution for UK flooding under various future climate and policy scenarios. Their paper provides the most detailed and realistic analysis to date of current and future flood risk in the UK. The key findings of their work are: (1) Previous UK flood losses based on government data and used in national climate change risk assessments are overestimated by a factor of about 3. (2) Official UK estimates lie well outside the paper's modelled loss distribution, which is plausibly centred on the observations. (3) The UK 1% annual probability flood losses were only about 6% greater in the average climate conditions of 2020 than for the period of historical river flow and rainfall observations (centred approximately on 1995). (4) Increases in risk can be kept to around ~8% if all COP26 2030 carbon emission reduction pledges and ‘net zero’ commitments are implemented in full. (5) Implementing only the COP26 pledges increases UK 1% annual probability flood losses by ~23% above recent historical values, and potentially ~37% if climate sensitivity turns out to be higher than currently thought.
Short summary
We present and validate a model that simulates current and future flood risk for the UK at high resolution (~ 20–25 m). We show that UK flood losses were ~ 6 % greater in the climate of 2020 compared to recent historical values. The UK can keep any future increase to ~ 8 % if all countries implement their COP26 pledges and net-zero ambitions in full. However, if only the COP26 pledges are fulfilled, then UK flood losses increase by ~ 23 %; and potentially by ~ 37 % in a worst-case scenario.
Final-revised paper