They were last published in 1989. “The likely effect of climate change on extreme events, based on the best available information, should be included in all such risk assessments. The estimates are essential because New Zealanders need to know how often rivers flood, to assess the value of adapting to them, and to set thresholds for the robustness and design factors of buildings and infrastructure.
The research on the advancement of flood prediction models contributed to risk reduction, policy suggestion, minimization of the loss of human life, and reduction of the property damage associated with floods. Researchers through introducing novel ML methods and hybridizing of the existing ones aim at discovering more accurate and efficient prediction models. Therefore, it is statistically possible for the ‘one in one hundred year’ flood to happen back to back. Hilary is part of a team working on two projects to provide accurate river flow forecasts for New Zealand. The result is a more accurate estimate of flood frequency.
NIWA’s weather model that provides the rainfall forecasts has been recently upgraded so it represents rainfall data in 1.5km² blocks, rather than the previous 12km². It means that there is a one in one hundred chance that a flood of this size or bigger will happen in any given year. At Whanganui Airport, the 79mm recorded on Saturday was the highest in June since 1937. Last year several Christchurch floods were each labelled in the same way. “This involves the integration of land use and water management to minimise adverse effects on freshwater systems and coastal environments, particularly from stormwater runoff.”. “The challenge now is to apply what we know about the causes of floods, and the added risks of climate change, to make adaptations in how we live and work,” he says. Due to the vast benefits and potential of ML, its popularity dramatically increased among hydrologists.
The re-calculated flood frequency estimates are expected to be available later this year.
A so-called one hundred year flood does not mean that there is one flood of this size every one hundred years. Dr Hilary McMillan, a NIWA hydrologist, says modelling shows that a complex interaction of factors is required to generate a flood. The past five years of weather data will be directed into the model, to identify areas where predicted river flows differ from actual river flows measured on the ground. The phrase ‘climate change’ was quick to the lips of some commentators. “Weather forecasts have vastly improved, enabling us to forecast river flows many hours ahead of time.
This year the pair surveyed over 80 buildings in Whanganui and 200 in Dunedin, noting the building types, the water depth and the type of damage, and they are estimating the cost of repair.
“A warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture; thus heavy rain-bearing flood-producing storms are all somewhat more intense now than if there was no warming. But our models, and this specific model for the road networks, is robust at predicting the future spread of flooding,” he said.
[Mark Brimblecombe], Water from the Whanganui River flows virtually unimpeded over the stopbank and towards the CBD.
Why did they occur? That’s why NIWA refers to something called the annual exceedance probability (AEP). A quick version is a snapshot of the. Hellberg says the council’s approach also encompasses the utilisation of natural flow paths to increase resilience for increased flows to be expected in the future as a result of climate change. Data will be used to set up the tailored West Coast model from various sources, such as rain gauges, soil conditions from Landcare Research, land cover, geology and river network data, and river flow data. The team is refining and applying a water flow model called TopNet.
[Mark Brimblecombe], Chris Appleby and Hilary McMillan measuring river flow in Halcombe Creek, Canterbury. As we see increased amounts of rain over short durations, you might see these systems starting to fail more often. The team is also thinking carefully about how to visualise the large amount of flow forecasts produced.
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