Probabilistic flood forecasting: worth the effort!


Short range flood forecasts that look up to 3 days ahead are well known to be a valuable tool for disaster management. Recently, there has been a considerable interest in extending the forecast horizons and produce, use and communicate flood forecasts and warnings beyond 3 days. Looking such a long way ahead means that these forecasts have to be probabilistic, and forecasted distributions of flood alerts also have to be carefully transformed into decisions.

In a recent publication based on the European Flood Awareness System (Pappenberger et al., 2015) , we have demonstrated that the monetary benefits of implementing this continental scale probabilistic flood forecasting system are of the order of 400 Euro for every 1 Euro invested. The more detailed analysis provides evidence that the benefits estimate is robust. This work supports the wider drive to implement early warning systems at the continental or global scale to improve our resilience to natural hazards.