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Development of flood exposure in the Netherlands during the 20th and 21st century

Development of flood exposure in the Netherlands during the 20th and 21st century,10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2010.12.005,Global Environmental Change-human an

Development of flood exposure in the Netherlands during the 20th and 21st century   (Citations: 1)
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Flood risks of deltaic areas increase because of population growth, economic development, land subsidence and climatic changes such as sea-level rise. In this study, we analyze trends in flood exposure by combining spatially explicit historical, present, and future land-use data with detailed information on the maximum flood inundation in the Netherlands. We show that the total amount of urban area that can potentially become inundated due to floods from the sea or main rivers has increased six-fold during the 20th century, and may double again during the 21st century. Moreover, these developments took, and probably will take, place in areas with progressively higher potential inundation depths. Potential flood damage has increased exponentially over the 20th century (16 times) and is expected to continue to increase exponentially (∼ten-fold by 2100 with respect to 2000) assuming a high economic growth scenario. Flood damages increase more moderately (two- to three-fold by 2100 with respect to 2000) assuming a low growth scenario. The capacity to deal with catastrophic flood losses – expressed as the ratio damage/GDP – will, however, decrease slightly in the low growth scenario (by about 20%). This trend deviates from the historical trend of the 20th century, which shows an increasing capacity to cope with flood damage (almost doubling). Under the high growth scenario the capacity to deal with such losses eventually increases slightly (by about 25%). These findings illustrate that, despite higher projections of potential flood damage, high economic growth scenarios may not necessarily be worse than low growth scenarios in terms of the impact of floods.
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