Natural Hazards

, Volume 58, Issue 1, pp 269–287 | Cite as

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

  • Emmanuel Pagneux
  • Guðrún Gísladóttir
  • Salvör Jónsdóttir
Original Paper


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 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emmanuel Pagneux
    • 1
    • 2
  • Guðrún Gísladóttir
    • 3
    • 4
  • Salvör Jónsdóttir
    • 5
  1. 1.Icelandic Meteorological OfficeReykjavíkIceland
  2. 2.Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, Department of Geography and TourismUniversity of IcelandReykjavíkIceland
  3. 3.Faculty of Life and Environmental SciencesUniversity of IcelandReykjavíkIceland
  4. 4.Institute of Earth SciencesUniversity of IcelandReykjavíkIceland
  5. 5.School of Science and EngineeringReykjavík UniversityReykjavíkIceland

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