Global flood risk and adaptation | University of Oxford

Global flood risk and adaptation

Prof Philip Ward, VU Amsterdam
17:00 - 18:30
Christ Church
St Aldate's

Blue Boar Lecture Theatre

Lectures and seminars

Floods cause billions of dollars of economic damage each year, and this is expected to increase in the future due to socioeconomic development and climate change‎. To limit these losses, and to protect people and their livelihoods from flooding, adaptation actions are required that take into account both current and future risk. Designing such actions requires scientific methods and models to assess flood risk, and tools to assess the influence of adaptations actions on risk.

The user-need for flood risk information in regions not covered by high-resolution local flood risk models has driven the development of the first generation of global flood risk models. In this lecture, the development of these models will be described, with a focus on their use in flood risk management and adaptation planning. Examples will be drawn from on the ground applications, such as assessments of state-level flood risk in Nigeria and Eastern Europe and Central Asia for the World Bank; as well as large scale applications for global adaptation planning with OECD and UN organisations. A global tool for translating global flood risk data into actionable information will be demonstrated, namely Aqueduct Global Flood Analyzer.

Finally, limitations, knowledge gaps, and future research needs in global flood risk modelling will be addressed, as well as ongoing activities to use global flood risk models to assess the costs and benefits of global adaptation and to bridge the current gap between local and global models.

About the speaker
Dr. Philip Ward is an Associate Professor in Global Water and Climate Risk, and Deputy Head of the Department of Water and Climate Risk at the Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM), VU Amsterdam. Since 2012, he has been a guest researcher at Deltares, and in 2013-2014 he was a visiting scientist at Columbia University in New York.

His current research focuses on flood and drought risk assessment at the global and continental scale. In 2016, he was awarded a 5-year grant to examine the temporal dependence between coastal and river flooding in deltas and estuaries worldwide, and how this dependence affects risk. In the last few years, Philip has developed models to assess water-related risks today and in the future, as well as methods to assess the effectiveness and feasibility of flood risk reduction strategies.

His research fuses high-level scientific impact with key societal questions, and searches for solutions to global environmental challenges. He is one of the core developers of the Global Flood Risk with IMAGE Scenarios (GLOFRIS) model, the Aqueduct Global Flood Analyzer, and the FLOPROS database. He has authored more than 50 papers in international peer-reviewed journals. His science is also used in practice; GLOFRIS and/or Aqueduct have been used in by a large range of stakeholders and decision makers, including the World Bank, Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, OECD, UN-HABITAT, and several reinsurance companies.

This is the last of four Oxford Water Network seminars exploring the theme of flooding. Prof Wards’s talk will be followed by panel discussion and Q&A. After the seminar, there will be the opportunity for informal networking over a glass of wine. The event is free to attend but online booking is required as spaces are limited.