Flood Similarity Workflow

Digital Earth Flood Event Explorer - The Flood Similarity Workflow

River floods and associated adverse consequences are caused by complex interactions of hydro-meteorological and socio-economic pre-conditions and event characteristics. Floods, as exceptional events at different spatio-temporal scales, often reveal an unexpected system behaviour and offer unique opportunities to gain system insights across multiple compartments and to improve existing methods and models. On the other hand, increasing flood losses indicate the immediate need of science-based facts to support flood risk management as well as disaster relief and recovery.

Modelling the Natural Drivers of Floods

The Flood Similarity workflow is a part of the Digital Earth Flood Explorer focusing on the assessment of hydro-meteorological controls of flood events. It allows to assess an arbitrary flood event against historical or future events including the complete process chain from the triggering atmospheric conditions and hydrological pre-conditions to the flood consequences. The approach covers the last 70 years comprising a flood event catalogue for Germany. This provides the basis to identify and compare similar flood events based on, for example, antecedent catchment conditions, catchment precipitation, discharge hydrographs, and inundation maps. A visual analytics framework enables the analysis of multidimensional flood characteristics including aggregated indicators (in space and time), spatial patterns and time series signatures. The similarity between the flood events is assessed using a multitude of statistical methods and machine learning algorithms incorporating the aforementioned multidimensional flood characteristics.


Stefan Lüdtke, Section Hydrology GFZ: sluedtke(at)gfz-potsdam.de