Dataset for global flood risks

Dataset for global flood risks

Flood risk

New dataset for global flood risks

Extreme sea levels – which can lead to disastrous floods around the world – have been identified more accurately than ever in a study by Deltares and the Institute for Environmental Studies of the VU-University of Amsterdam. The results were published in Nature Communications in June 2016. The method helps to make a better assessment of the risks for more than 600 million residents of low-lying coastal areas worldwide.

Dataset for global flood risks

Our role and the results

The study presents a global dataset with extreme water levels that occur once every 100 years along the world's entire coastline: the "Global Tide and Surge Reanalyis" dataset (GTSR). GTSR is the first global dataset for the coast that is based on a hydrodynamic computer model. Models of this kind have often been used in the past on the regional scale to calculate flood risks. Recent technological innovations have made it possible to apply this method on a global scale as well. The Global Tide and Surge Model developed by Martin Verlaan of Deltares was used to simulate water conditions for the period 1979-2014. Validation has demonstrated that the water levels produced by the model are very accurate and that GTSR produces results that are comparable to those of many regional hydrodynamic models. The GTSR dataset can therefore be used for important research into the societal risks of flooding. GTSR can also be essential in terms of improvements in identifying the effects of sea-level rise. The extreme water levels are placed online to help policymakers develop the appropriate adaptation strategies such as the raising of dikes.

When I started working on this model, they said it was a mission impossible. However, we have acquired much more computing power in recent years and we also have the global datasets needed to run these models. One of the main factors underlying this study was the launch of Delft 3D software, which includes the option of raising local model resolutions.
Martin Verlaan
Deltares expert hydrodynamics
As long as the global population continues to grow and sea levels continue to rise, so does the number of people potentially exposed to floods. Accurate data about extreme water levels are essential to combat this increasing risk effectively.
Sanne Muis
Researcher at the Institute for Environmental Studies of the VU-University Amsterdam

For this project Deltares has collaborated with the following partners:

  • Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Want to know more about this project?

Martin Verlaan
Expert hydrodynamics