Probabilistic evaluation of flood hazard in urban areas using Monte Carlo simulation


F. Franza, Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile, Università di Messina, Via Nuova Panoramica dello Stretto, 98166 Messina, Italy.



The goal of the presented research was the derivation of flood hazard maps, using Monte Carlo simulation of flood propagation at an urban site in the UK, specifically an urban area of the city of Glasgow. A hydrodynamic model describing the propagation of flood waves, based on the De Saint Venant equations in two-dimensional form capable of accounting for the topographic complexity of the area (preferential outflow paths, buildings, manholes, etc.) and for the characteristics of prevailing imperviousness typical of the urban areas, has been used to derive the hydrodynamic characteristics of flood events (i.e. water depths and flow velocities). The knowledge of the water depth distribution and of the current velocities derived from the propagation model along with the knowledge of the topographic characteristics of the urban area from digital map data allowed for the production of hazard maps based on properly defined hazard indexes. These indexes are evaluated in a probabilistic framework to overcome the classical problem of single deterministic prediction of flood extent for the design event and to introduce the concept of the likelihood of flooding at a given point as the sum of data uncertainty, model structural error and parameterization uncertainty. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.