Climatic Change

, Volume 47, Issue 1–2, pp 91–115 | Cite as

Climate Change Impacts on Urban Flooding

  • S. Yu. Schreider
  • D. I. Smith
  • A. J. Jakeman


This paper estimates changes in thepotential damage of flood events caused by increasesof CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. It ispresented in two parts: 1. the modelling of floodfrequency and magnitude under global warming andassociated rainfall intensities and 2. the use ofgreenhouse flood data to assess changes in thevulnerability of flood prone urban areas, expressingthese in terms of direct losses.Three case studies were selected: theHawkesbury–Nepean corridor, the Queanbeyan and UpperParramatta Rivers. All three catchments are located insoutheastern Australia, near Sydney and Canberra.These were chosen because each had detailed buildingdata bases available and the localities are situatedon rivers that vary in catchment size andcharacteristics. All fall within a region that willexperience similar climate change under the availablegreenhouse scenarios. The GCMs' slab model scenariosof climate change in 2030 and 2070 will cause onlyminor changes to urban flood damage but the doubleCO2 scenarios estimated using the StochasticWeather Generator technique will lead to significantincreases in building damage.For all the case studies, the hydrological modellingindicates that there will be increases in themagnitude and frequency of flood events under thedouble CO2 conditions although these vary fromplace to place. However, the overall pattern of changeis that for the Upper Parramatta River the 1 in 100-year flood under currentconditions becomes the 1 in44-year event, the 1 in 35-year flood for theHawkesbury–Nepean and the 1 in 10 for Queanbeyan andCanberra. This indicates the importance of usingrainfall-runoff modelling in order to estimate changesin flood frequencies in catchments with differentphysical characteristics.


Atmosphere Climate Change Urban Area Global Warming Flood Event 
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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Yu. Schreider
    • 1
  • D. I. Smith
    • 2
  • A. J. Jakeman
    • 2
  1. 1.Integrated Catchment Assessment and Management (ICAM) CentreThe Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies (CRES)The Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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