26 Jan 2021

26 Jan 2021

Review status: a revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal NHESS.

Compound flood events: different pathways–different impacts–different coping options?

Annegret H. Thieken1, Guilherme S. Mohor1, Heidi Kreibich2, and Meike Müller3 Annegret H. Thieken et al.
  • 1Institute of Environmental Science and Geography, University of Potsdam, Potsdam-Golm, 14476, Germany
  • 2GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Section Hydrology, Potsdam, 14473, Germany
  • 3Deutsche Rückversicherung AG, Düsseldorf, 40549, Germany

Abstract. Several severe flood events hit Germany in recent years, with events in 2013 and 2016 being the most destructive ones although dynamics and flood processes were very different. While the 2013-event was a slowly rising widespread fluvial flood accompanied by some severe dike breaches, the events in 2016 were fast onset pluvial floods, which resulted in some places in surface water flooding due to limited capacities of the drainage systems and in others, particularly in small steep catchments, in destructive flash floods with high sediment loads. Hence, different pathways, i.e. different routes that the water takes to reach (and potentially damage) receptors, in our case private households, can be identified in both events. They can thus be regarded as spatially compound flood events. This paper analyses how affected residents coped with these different flood types (fluvial and pluvial) and their impacts while accounting for the different pathways (river flood, dike breach, surface water flooding and flash flood) within the events. The analyses are based on two data sets with 1652 (for the 2013-flood) and 601 (for the 2016-flood) affected residents who were surveyed around nine months after each flood, revealing little socio-economic differences–except for income–between the two samples. The four pathways showed significant differences with regard to their hydraulic and financial impacts, recovery, warning processes as well as coping and adaptive behaviour. There are no or just small differences with regard to perceived self-efficacy and responsibility offering entry points for tailored risk communication and support.

Annegret H. Thieken et al.

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on nhess-2021-27', Anonymous Referee #1, 14 Feb 2021
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Annegret Thieken, 07 May 2021
  • RC2: 'Comment on nhess-2021-27', Anonymous Referee #2, 17 Mar 2021
    • AC2: 'Reply on RC2', Annegret Thieken, 07 May 2021

Annegret H. Thieken et al.

Data sets

HOWAS21 Helmholtz-Zentrum Potsdam, Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum GFZ

Annegret H. Thieken et al.


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Short summary
Different floods hit Germany recently. While there was a river flood with some dike breaches in 2013, flooding in 2016 resulted directly from heavy rainfall, causing overflowing drainage systems in urban areas and destructive flash floods in steep catchments. Based on survey data, we analyzed how residents coped with these different floods. We observed significantly different flood impacts, warnings, behavior and recovery offering entry points for tailored risk communication and support.