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Pluvial flooding in European cities - A continental approach to urban flood modelling

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Selma GuerreiroORCiD, Dr Vassilis Glenis, Professor Richard DawsonORCiD, Professor Chris Kilsby



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2017 by the authors. Pluvial flooding is caused by localized intense rainfall and the flood models used to assess it are normally applied on a city (or part of a city) scale using local rainfall records and a high resolution digital elevation model (DEM). Here, we attempt to model pluvial flooding on a continental scale and calculate the percentage of area flooded for all European cities for a 10-year return period for hourly rainfall (RP10). Difficulties in obtaining hourly rainfall records compromise the estimation of each city RP10 and the Europe-wide DEM spatial resolution is low relative to those typically used for individual case-studies. Nevertheless, the modelling capabilities and necessary computing power make this type of continental study now possible. This is a first attempt at continental city flooding modelling and our methodology was designed so that our results can easily be updated as better/more data becomes available. The results for each city depend on the interplay of rainfall intensity, the elevation map of the city and the flow paths that are created. In general, cities with lower percentage of city flooded are in the north and west coastal areas of Europe, while the higher percentages are seen in continental and Mediterranean areas.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Guerreiro SB, Glenis V, Dawson RJ, Kilsby C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Water

Year: 2017

Volume: 9

Issue: 4

Online publication date: 22/04/2017

Acceptance date: 18/04/2017

Date deposited: 10/05/2017

ISSN (electronic): 2073-4441

Publisher: MDPI AG


DOI: 10.3390/w9040296


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