Can 7000 Years of flood history inform actual flood risk management? A case study on Lake Mondsee, Austria

Publikation aus Life
Wetter- und Klimarisikomanagement, Institutsdirektor

Franz Prettenthaler, Dominik Kortschak, Hansjörg Albrecher, Judith Köberl, Martina Stangl, Tina Swierczynski

International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction Volume 81, 10/2022


Flood risk models typically rely on discharge records of time series no longer than a few hundred years, which leads to high uncertainty in the estimates for major flood events. In this paper, we investigate the capability of geological flood records retrieved from lake sediment cores to prolong available data sets, lower the uncertainty of flood risk analysis, and detect changes in flood patterns by releasing the common assumption of stationarity. Paleoflood records of Lake Mondsee, Austria, covering 7000 years are linked to flood damage data of the considered catchment area to calculate (1) the average annual damage, i.e. the fair premium and (2) the damage at 99.5% Value at Risk, i.e. the Solvency II capital requirement. To illustrate our results, the performance of a hypothetical catastrophe fund for these 7000 years is studied at current vulnerability levels. Our findings show that high resolution paleoflood records with robust chronologies and flood information have significant impacts on flood model outcomes for disaster risk management and that damage potentials derived merely from recent damage data may overestimate actual risks.

Keywords: Flood risk modelling, Non-stationarity, Paleoflood records, Value at risk (VaR), Lake sediments, Flood risk analysis, Catastrophe fund