Original Paper

Natural Hazards

, Volume 58, Issue 1, pp 269-287

First online:

Public perception of flood hazard and flood risk in Iceland: a case study in a watershed prone to ice-jam floods

  • Emmanuel PagneuxAffiliated withIcelandic Meteorological OfficeFaculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, Department of Geography and Tourism, University of Iceland Email author 
  • , Guðrún GísladóttirAffiliated withFaculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of IcelandInstitute of Earth Sciences, University of Iceland
  • , Salvör JónsdóttirAffiliated withSchool of Science and Engineering, Reykjavík University

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Understanding and improving the public perception has become an important element in the management of flood risk worldwide. In Iceland, studying perception of flood hazard and flood risk is, however, in its early stages. This paper presents a case study on the public perception of flood hazard and flood risk in an Icelandic town prone to ice-jam floods. Awareness of the population regarding historical inundations, self estimation of flood risk and worry is considered. The factual knowledge of the residents is deconstructed in flood hazard parameters accessible to the lay population: number of events, dates, genesis and boundaries. The performance of the respondents is rated for each parameter and the influence of several predictors evaluated. The research shows three significant patterns: there is poor awareness and little worry about historical inundations in the area; experience of the past flooding events in town is the most effective source of knowledge; awareness, risk estimation and worry are not correlated.


Flood risk perception Spatial representations Ice-jam floods Iceland