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A conceptual model and rapid appraisal tool for integrated coastal floodplain assessments

A conceptual model and rapid appraisal tool for integrated coastal floodplain assessments
A conceptual model and rapid appraisal tool for integrated coastal floodplain assessments
Low-lying coastal zones are high-risk areas threatened by flooding due to extreme coastal events and rising sea-levels. The coastal floodplain system includes elements such as near-shore waves and water levels, inter-tidal beaches and coastal habitats, natural and artificial sea defences and multiple inland floodplain features. Flood risk studies generally achieve an integrated assessment of these elements using multiple numerical models for different floodplain elements. However fundamental choices of floodplain description and the appropriate data, methods and models can vary widely between different sites and flood risk studies. A comprehensive conceptual model is needed to describe the floodplain system and help inform these choices in each site. However a descriptive conceptual model for coastal floodplain systems does not exist at present. There is a bias in flood risk studies towards the direct use of numerical models with limited use of conceptual models – existing models are implicit and do not describe the coastal floodplain system.

This thesis addresses this gap by developing, applying and testing a rapid appraisal tool that conceptually describes the coastal floodplain as a system of interacting elements. The tool is developed in two parts – i) a quasi-2D Source
– Pathway – Receptor (SPR) model that provides a comprehensive qualitative description of the floodplain; and ii) a Bayesian network model that uses this description to quantify individual elements as sources, pathways and receptors of flood propagation. The quasi-2D SPR is applied in 8 diverse coastal zones across Europe 4 of which include nested case-studies. It is an effective way of gathering and describing information about the floodplain from stakeholders across multiple disciplines. The Bayesian network model is applied to two contrasting floodplain systems in England – Teignmouth and Portsmouth. The network model is effective in pinpointing critical flood pathways and identifying key knowledge gaps for further analyses. The two models together provide a comprehensive understanding of the coastal floodplain system that can be used to inform and target the use of more detailed numerical models.

Hence this thesis provides a conceptual model and tool to improve flood risk assessment. It makes conceptual understanding of the floodplain explicit and stratifies quantitative analysis by application of a rapid assessment tool before the use of detailed numerical models.
Narayan, S.
cfa550cc-d989-4240-b821-2c9ce7d037c3
Narayan, S.
cfa550cc-d989-4240-b821-2c9ce7d037c3
Nicholls, Robert
4ce1e355-cc5d-4702-8124-820932c57076

Narayan, S. (2014) A conceptual model and rapid appraisal tool for integrated coastal floodplain assessments. University of Southampton, Engineering and the Environment, Doctoral Thesis, 320pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Low-lying coastal zones are high-risk areas threatened by flooding due to extreme coastal events and rising sea-levels. The coastal floodplain system includes elements such as near-shore waves and water levels, inter-tidal beaches and coastal habitats, natural and artificial sea defences and multiple inland floodplain features. Flood risk studies generally achieve an integrated assessment of these elements using multiple numerical models for different floodplain elements. However fundamental choices of floodplain description and the appropriate data, methods and models can vary widely between different sites and flood risk studies. A comprehensive conceptual model is needed to describe the floodplain system and help inform these choices in each site. However a descriptive conceptual model for coastal floodplain systems does not exist at present. There is a bias in flood risk studies towards the direct use of numerical models with limited use of conceptual models – existing models are implicit and do not describe the coastal floodplain system.

This thesis addresses this gap by developing, applying and testing a rapid appraisal tool that conceptually describes the coastal floodplain as a system of interacting elements. The tool is developed in two parts – i) a quasi-2D Source
– Pathway – Receptor (SPR) model that provides a comprehensive qualitative description of the floodplain; and ii) a Bayesian network model that uses this description to quantify individual elements as sources, pathways and receptors of flood propagation. The quasi-2D SPR is applied in 8 diverse coastal zones across Europe 4 of which include nested case-studies. It is an effective way of gathering and describing information about the floodplain from stakeholders across multiple disciplines. The Bayesian network model is applied to two contrasting floodplain systems in England – Teignmouth and Portsmouth. The network model is effective in pinpointing critical flood pathways and identifying key knowledge gaps for further analyses. The two models together provide a comprehensive understanding of the coastal floodplain system that can be used to inform and target the use of more detailed numerical models.

Hence this thesis provides a conceptual model and tool to improve flood risk assessment. It makes conceptual understanding of the floodplain explicit and stratifies quantitative analysis by application of a rapid assessment tool before the use of detailed numerical models.

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More information

Published date: January 2014
Organisations: University of Southampton, Energy & Climate Change Group

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 368258
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/368258
PURE UUID: 203ec3df-fc84-4d5b-9fb2-940a30121331
ORCID for Robert Nicholls: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-9715-1109

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 24 Oct 2014 11:44
Last modified: 06 Jun 2018 12:44

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Contributors

Author: S. Narayan
Thesis advisor: Robert Nicholls ORCID iD

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