Adaptation to flood risk – results of international paired flood event studies: Adaptation to flood risk

Authors: H. Kreibich, G. Di Baldassarre, S. Vorogushyn, J.C.J.H. Aerts, H. Apel, G.T. Aronica, K. Arnbjerg-Nielsen, L.M. Bouwer, P. Bubeck, T. Caloiero, D.T. Chinh, M. Cortès, A.K. Gain, V. Giampá, C. Kuhlicke, Z.W. Kundzewicz, M.C. Llasat, J. Mård, P. Matczak, M. Mazzoleni, D. Molinari, N.V. Dung, O. Petrucci, K. Schröter, K. Slager, A.H. Thieken, P.J. Ward, B. Merz
As flood impacts are increasing in large parts of the world, understanding the primary drivers of changes in risk is essential for effective adaptation. To gain more knowledge on the basis of empirical case studies, we analyze eight paired floods, i.e. consecutive flood events that occurred in the same region, with the second flood causing significantly lower damage. These success stories of risk reduction were select ed across different socio-economic and hydro- climatic contexts. The potential of societies to adapt is uncovered by describing triggered societal changes, as well as formal measures and spontaneous processes that reduced flood risk. This novel approach has the potential to build the basis for an international data collection and analysis effort to better understand and attribute changes in risk due to hydrological extremes in the framework of the IAHSs Panta Rhei initiative. Across all case studies, we find that lower damage caused by the second event was mainly due to significant reductions in vulnerability, e.g. via raised risk awareness, preparedness and improvements of organizational emergency management. Thus, vulnerability reduction plays an essential role for successful adaptation. Our work shows that there is a high potential to adapt, but there remains the challenge to stimulate measures that reduce vulnerability and risk in periods in which extreme events do not occur.

Towards a better understanding of the evolution of the flood risk in Mediterranean urban areas: the case of Barcelona

Authors: Maria Cortès, Maria Carmen Llasat, Joan Gilabert, Montserrat Llasat-Botija, Marco Turco, Raül Marcos, Juan Pedro Martín Vide, Lluís Falcón.


This contribution explores the evolution of the flood risk in the MetropolitanArea of Barcelona (MAB; Northeast Spain) from 1981 to 2015, and how it has beenaffected by changes in land use, population and precipitation. To complete this study, weanalysed PRESSGAMA and INUNGAMA databases to look for all the information relatedto the floods and flash floods that have affected the chosen region. The ‘‘Consorcio deCompensacio´n de Seguros’’, a state insurance company for extraordinary risks, provideddata on economic damage. The extreme precipitation trend was analysed by the FabraObservatory and El Prat-Airport Observatory, and daily precipitation data were providedby the State Meteorological Agency of Spain (AEMET) and the Meteorological Service ofCatalonia (SMC). Population data were obtained from the Statistical Institute of Catalonia(IDESCAT). Changes in land use were estimated from the land use maps for Cataloniacorresponding to 1956, 1993, 2000, 2005 and 2009. Prevention measures like rainwatertanks and improvements to the drainage system were also been considered. The specificcase of Barcelona is presented, a city recognised by United Nations International Strategyfor Disaster Reduction as a model city for urban resilience to floods. The evolution of floodevents in the MAB does not show any significant trend for this period. We argue that theevolution in floods can be explained, at least in part, by the lack of trend in extremeprecipitation indices, and also by the improvements in flood prevention measures.

Download: Cortès et al._2017_Towards a better understanding of the evolution of the flood risk in Mediterranean urban areas the case of Barcelona

3 nous artícles

On the key role of droughts in the dynamics of summer fires in Mediterranean Europe


Marco Turco, Jost von Hardenberg, Amir AghaKouchak, Maria Carmen Llasat, Antonello Provenzale, Ricardo M. Trigo


Summer fires frequently rage across Mediterranean Europe, often intensified by high temperatures and droughts. According to the state-of-the-art regional fire risk projections, in forthcoming decades climate effects are expected to become stronger and possibly overcome fire prevention efforts. However, significant uncertainties exist and the direct effect of climate change in regulating fuel moisture (e.g. warmer conditions increasing fuel dryness) could be counterbalanced by the indirect effects on fuel structure (e.g. warmer conditions limiting fuel amount), affecting the transition between climate-driven and fuel-limited fire regimes as temperatures increase. Here we analyse and model the impact of coincident drought and antecedent wet conditions (proxy for the climatic factor influencing total fuel and fine fuel structure) on the summer Burned Area (BA) across all eco-regions in Mediterranean Europe. This approach allows BA to be linked to the key drivers of fire in the region. We show a statistically significant relationship between fire and same-summer droughts in most regions, while antecedent climate conditions play a relatively minor role, except in few specific eco-regions. The presented models for individual eco-regions provide insights on the impacts of climate variability on BA, and appear to be promising for developing a seasonal forecast system supporting fire management strategies.


Analysis of geographic and orographic influence in Spanish monthly precipitation

J. Álvarez-Rodríguez, M. C. Llasat, T. Estrela

Precipitation is a major concern in water resources studies. Being a main variable, the inefficiency of historical ground network, particularly at higher altitudes where precipitation and runoff augmentations are expected, constitutes a major drawback. This work analyses the competence of Spanish historical precipitation network and explores the physiographic influence of elevation and orientation at a national scale. The usefulness of slopes is also explored. Nearly 12 000 monthly precipitation series recorded from the 19th century until the hydrological year 2004/2005 over a high-resolution topographic map (200 m) of Spanish territory are used. Comparable statistics and precipitation lapse rates are managed once a completion of gaps is accomplished. Then, Spanish yearly rates range from 0.3 to 1.2 mm m−1, reaching 1.5 mm m−1 in Northern Iberian Peninsula, diminishing at highest altitudes.


Bias correction and downscaling of future RCM precipitation projections using a MOS-Analog technique

M. Turco, M.C. Llasat, S. Herrera, J.M Gutiérrez

In this study we assess the suitability of a recently introduced analog-based Model Output Statistics (MOS) downscaling method (referred to as MOS-Analog) for climate change studies and compare the results with a quantile mapping bias correction method. To this aim, we focus on Spain and consider daily precipitation output from an ensemble of Regional Climate Models provided by the ENSEMBLES project. The reanalysis-driven Regional Climate Model (RCM) data provide the historical data (with day-to-day correspondence with observations induced by the forcing boundary conditions) to conduct the analog search of the control (20C3M) and future (A1B) global climate model (GCM)-driven RCM values. First, we show that the MOS-Analog method outperforms the raw RCM output in the control 20C3M scenario (period 1971–2000) for all considered regions and precipitation indices, although for the worst-performing models the method is less effective. Second, we show that the MOS-Analog method broadly preserves the original RCM climate change signal for different future periods (2011–2040, 2041–2070, 2071–2100), except for those indices related to extreme precipitation. This could be explained by the limitation of the analog method to extrapolate unobserved precipitation records. These results suggest that the MOS-Analog is a spatially consistent alternative to standard bias correction methods, although the limitation for extreme values should be taken with caution in cases where this aspect is relevant for the problem.


10th HyMeX Workshop, 4-7 July 2017, Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Spain

The 10th HyMeX workshop will take place from 4 to 7 July 2017, in Barcelona, Spain.
It will be organized by the Water Research Institute (IdRA) and the Faculty of Physics from the University of Barcelona.

  • 2d circular in pdf format
  • Short abstracts for oral or poster presentations are invited related to the Mediterranean water cycle.
    Themes of particular interest are: heavy precipitation, flash-flood and vulnerabilities, Mediterranean cyclones, ocean circulation and dense water formation, droughts and water resources. Contributions on recent advances in prediction and management of the water cycle, its link with renewable energy, its related hazards and their impacts, from nowcasting to climate scales, are also welcome.
    Short abstracts can be submitted online here (Submission deadline is extended to 17 March 2017)
  • Registration form
Scientific committee
    M.C. Llasat (Chair, U. Barcelona, Es), V. Ducrocq (Co-chair, CNRM, Fr), P. Alpert (TAU, Is), M. Borga (U. Padova, It), I. Braud (IRSTEA, Fr), S. Coquillat (LA, Fr), Ph. Drobinski (LMD-IPSL, Fr), C. Estournel (LA, Fr), E. Flaounas (NOA, Gr), N. Fourrie (CNRM, Fr), V. Homar (UIB, Es), S. Khodayar (KIT, De), V. Kotroni (NOA, Gr), P. Quintana (O. Ebre, Es), S. Somot (CNRM, Fr), A. Turiel (ICM, Es)
Organizing committee
    M.C. Llasat, J. Martin-Vide, J. Bech, N. Casals, P. Guitchev (IdRA, U. Barcelona), M. Llasat-Botija, A. del Moral, M. Cortes, J. Gilabert, (U. Barcelona), P. Quintana (O. Ebre), L. Labatut, O. Roussot (CNRM, Fr)


Ofertes de postdoc





More information in: HYMEX




El projecte GAUDIR UB és un programa d’activitats acadèmiques organitzat des de l’Àrea de Formació Complementària.

Aquest projecte pretén posar a disposició de la societat el coneixement que es genera a la Universitat de Barcelona. Es tracta d’un conjunt d’activitats acadèmiques de format presencial i de marcat caràcter divulgatiu, amb el rigor i la qualitat que n’asseguren una institució com la Universitat de Barcelona.


En el marc d’aquesta iniciativa, el grup GAMA fem un curs durant aquest primer trimestre. El curs es diu: Clima i Canvi Global.

L’objectiu del curs és, per una banda, proporcionar els coneixements bàsics de meteorologia i climatologia per comprendre el canvi climàtic, així com les novetats aportades pel darrer informe de l’IPCC. Es tindran presents els canvis socioeconòmics més rellevants i els impactes del canvi climàtic, particularment en els riscos naturals. Per altra banda, es tracta de generar un espai de reflexió i donar eines per participar activament en un desenvolupament sostenible. S’inclouran sessions més pràctiques que permetin el debat i la interacció i es mostraran les tecnologies que s’utilitzen en aquest camp d’estudi.

El cinquè informe de l’IPCC va posar de manifest l’elevat acord sobre el paper de l’activitat humana en el canvi climàtic i la necessitat d’actuar. La Conferència de les Parts (COP21) celebrada al 2015 va acabar amb l’Acord de París, un acord històric que suposa un compromís mundial per abordar el canvi climàtic. El repte que se’ns presenta, com a individus i societat, és altament complex i per abordar-lo el coneixement és i serà una de les eines més eficaces.

Si esteu interessats en participar apunteu-vos en aquesta pàgina: