Floods are amongst the most damaging and costly of all natural hazards. Worldwide, frequent occurrences of heavy rainfall and other drivers combine with high levels of human exposure and high-value and vulnerable assets to produce multi-billion losses every year. Considering the world’s rapid urbanization, as well as the prospect of strongly adverse climate change effects, understanding and developing methods to mitigate the impacts of floods is attracting widespread concern and has become one of the top challenges of our generation. Crucial to our capacity to engineer rivers, cities and infrastructure that are resilient to floods is our ability to predict the probability or certain events (rainfall, storm surge, waves) to occur, and to model the corresponding process of inundation. The latter is used to accurately predict flow depths and velocities that will occur under different scenarios of rain or other flood-inducing factors and for existing or designed conditions. These models are extremely powerful tools that are used by engineers to optimise costly investments in flood risk mitigation systems, to support emergency relief measures, to price insurance premiums or to design flood-resilient infrastructure. With increasing demand for accurate predictions of flooding, it is important that engineers develop detailed understanding of how these tools can be used to predict and mitigate the risk of flooding.
This module will provide students with the knowledge required to use state-of-the-art models, and critically assess the results of flood simulations. By the end of the module students will also be able to judge and decide which, among the many models currently available, is best suited to simulate particular types of problems in engineering.