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Regional Flood Model for Germany

Flood risk analysis has traditionally been carried out at a local scale. There is, however, a need to identify flood prone areas and the associated risk at a national scale so that planning and resource allocation to undertake flood defence measures can be done in an effective way. Previously applied methodologies have considerable drawbacks that should be overcome. These include an assumption of the uniform flood magnitude countrywide for one scenario, application of steady state instead of dynamic hydraulic modelling approaches as well as disregarding of flood protection structures and their possible failures. The aim of this project is to develop a modelling system to produce a coherent regional flood risk assessment covering the whole of Germany. The system will consist of a chain of models covering the main processes of flood generation and damage.

A model chain for regional flood risk assessment in Germany.

The system consists of:  

  • a model for the generation of weather variables for the present climate and under future climate change scenarios.
  • a model for the simulation of land surface hydrological processes and estimation of runoff.
  • a model for the simulation of flow propagation in river channels and flood plain inundation with consideration of possible failures of flood defence structures.
  • a model for the estimation of damages resulting from flooding.

Through implementation of the developed system, changes in flood risk under climate change scenarios will be investigated. This will enable policy makers plan changes in the management strategy and level of investment for flood protection measures.



Schröter, K., Kreibich, H., Vogel, K., Riggelsen, C., Scherbaum, F., Merz, B. (2014): How useful are complex flood damage models? - Water Resources Research, 50, 4, p. 3378-3395.

Merz, B., Kreibich, H., Lall, U. (2013): Multi-variate flood damage assessment: a tree-based data-mining approach. - Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS), 13, 1, p. 53-64.

Falter, D., Schröter, K., Nguyen, D., Vorogushyn, S., Kreibich, H., Hundecha, Y., Apel, H., Merz, B. (2015): Spatially coherent flood risk assessment based on long-term continuous simulation with a coupled model chain. - Journal of Hydrology. doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2015.02.021

Falter, D., Nguyen, D., Vorogushyn, S., Schröter, K., Hundecha, Y., Kreibich, H., Apel, H., Theisselmann, F., Merz, B. (2016): Continuous, large-scale simulation model for flood risk assessments: proof-of-concept.- Journal of Flood Risk Management, 9, 1, p. 3-21.

Falter, D., Vorogushyn, S., Lhomme, J., Apel, H., Gouldby, B., Merz, B. (2013): Hydraulic model evaluation for large-scale flood risk assessments. - Hydrological Processes, 27, 9, p. 1331-1340

Hundecha, Y., Merz, B. (2012): Exploring the relationship between changes in climate and floods using a model-based analysis. - Water Resources Research, 48, W04512.

Nied, M., Hundecha, Y., Merz, B. (2013): Flood-initiating catchment conditions: a spatio-temporal analysis of large-scale soil moisture patterns in the Elbe River basin. - Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 17, 4, p. 1401-1414.


Mit dem entwickelten Regionalen Hochwassermodell Deutschlands konnte die erste räumlich konsistente Simulation von Hochwasserabflüssen, Überflutungsflächen und Schäden auf Skala von großen und meso-skaligen Einzugsgebieten (Elbe, Mulde) durchgeführt werden (Falter et al., 2015, 2016). Für das Mulde Einzugsgebiet basiert sich die Risikoabschätzung auf 10.000 Jahren synthetisch generierter Klimazeitreihen, die für den Antrieb des hydrologischen Modells eingesetzt wurden. Die Überflutungsflächen für mehr als 2000 Ereignisse in diesem Zeitraum wurden auf 100 m räumlicher Auflösung berechnet und bildeten die Grundlage für Schadensmodellierung mit einem multi-paramater Schadensmodell (Merz et al., 2013; Schröter et al., 2014) (Abb.X).

Finanzierung: institutionelle Programm-orientierte Förderung, Helmholtz Gemeinschaft

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