Risk analysis and modeling

Collaborative high-level research by Risk, Policy and Vulnerability (RPV) found that losses from extreme floods in Europe could more than double by 2050, mainly due to climate change and socioeconomic development. The research allowed the first comprehensive assessment of continental flood risk and a comparison of the different adaptation options available to Europe.

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In 2014 RPV researchers contributed to a methodological breakthrough in the assessment of “fat-tail” extreme riverine flood risk distributions by developing an advanced copula approach that makes it possible to take account of increasing tail dependencies and derive improved probability-based flood-loss estimates across Europe [1]. These assessments until now were made without taking into account spatial correlations between river basins, leading to a serious underestimation of the risks (see Figure 1). This analysis has important implications for managing risks at the European scale, for instance, through the pan-European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF).

Figure 1. Probabilistic estimates of annual European flood losses using dependence and independence models for current and future scenarios (click on image to enlarge).


[1] Jongman B, Hochrainer-Stigler S et al. (2014). Increasing stress on disaster risk finance due to large floods. Nature Climate Change (letter). doi: 10.1038/nclimate2124


Institute for Environmental Studies, Netherlands

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Last edited: 02 April 2015


Stefan Hochrainer-Stigler

Senior Research Scholar Systemic Risk and Resilience Research Group - Advancing Systems Analysis Program

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Cost of flooding could double by 2050

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