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Adapting flood prediction for the climate crisis era

November 14, 2023

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By Jeff Albee, Assaad Mrad and Curtis Smith

As our planet’s temperature rises, flood events are increasing in frequency and severity to devastating effect – can we get ahead of this new normal?

The nine hottest years since records of the earth’s temperature started to be kept 143 years ago have been the past nine years. The impact of this shocking fact is being felt far and wide – through more extreme weather patterns that include heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and heavy precipitation events; snow, ice, and permafrost melt; rises in sea levels and the acidity of oceans; food shortages; extinction and biodiversity loss; and increased death rates, to name a few.

This global climate crisis is having both a direct and indirect impact on changes to rates, types, scale, and severity of flood events around the globe. These events can have profound impact—not only do floods pose a real and immediate danger to human life, they can also cause serious property damage, destroy vital food crops, undermine local business activity, destroy natural habitats, and drastically alter the physical landscape irreparably. And to put the cost of a flood event into perspective, the financial costs of a flood event amount to roughly two-thirds of the financial impact of all natural disasters combined.

No one wants this to be our new normal. But until we can significantly curb climate change factors and behaviors, we must act swiftly to enhance our flood prediction practices. This whitepaper outlines the baseline criteria for a new and enhanced flood prediction method that shifts from manual to digital flood prediction. These criteria include:

  • Inclusion of future trends and predictions
  • Faster mapping and more regularly updated maps
  • Inclusion of pluvial and compound flood types
  • Coverage of unmapped areas
  • Estimation of impacts of flooding
  • Prioritized and shared access
  • A high degree of accuracy and quality

Learn more in our white paper and come along as we imagine what the world could look like with enhanced flood prediction and flood management approaches.

Our Flood Solutions team combines experts in science, engineering, and design with advanced technology to deliver cutting-edge solutions that help our clients and communities make more informed decisions, confidently and quickly.

  • Jeff Albee

    Jeff supports science, engineering, and design technology advancements from the earliest research to the maintenance phase of Stantec’s digital products and projects.

    Contact Jeff
  • Assaad Mrad

    Assaad loves knowing his work can change communities for the better. As a data scientist helping grow the Insight module of our Connect platform, he sources, analyzes, and models engineering data to create machine learning frameworks.

    Contact Assaad
  • Curtis Smith

    A senior associate, team leader, and technical expert, Curtis works on flood risk identification. He applies digital solutions such as cloud computing, statistics, and watershed modelling to maximize value for the communities he supports.

    Contact Curtis
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