Journal cover Journal topic
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/hess-2016-524
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
19 Oct 2016
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper was accepted for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS) and is expected to appear here in due course.
Topography- and nightlight-based national flood risk assessment in Canada
Amin Elshorbagy1,2, Anchit Lakhanpal1, Bharath Raja1, Serena Ceola3, Alberto Montanari3, and Karl-Erich Lindenschmidt2,4 1Department of Civil, Geological, and Environmental Engineering, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada
2Global Institute for Water Security, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada
3Department of Civil, Chemical, Environmental, and Materials Engineering, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
4School of Environment and Sustainability, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada
Abstract. In Canada, flood analysis and water resource management, in general, are tasks conducted at the provincial level; therefore, unified national-scale approaches to water-related problems are uncommon. In this study, a national-scale flood risk assessment approach is proposed and developed. The study focuses on using global and national datasets available at reasonably fine resolutions to create flood risk maps. First, a flood hazard map of Canada is developed using topography-based parameters derived from digital elevation models namely Elevation Above Nearest Drainage (EAND) and Distance From Nearest Drainage (DFND). This flood hazard mapping method is tested on a smaller area around the city of Calgary, Alberta, against a flood inundation map produced by the City using hydraulic modeling. Second, a flood exposure map of Canada is developed using a land-use map and the satellite-based nightlight luminosity data as two exposure parameters. Third, an economic flood risk map is produced, and subsequently overlaid with population density information to produce a socioeconomic flood risk map for Canada. All three maps of hazard, exposure, and risk are classified into five classes, ranging from very low to severe. A simple way to include flood protection measures in hazard estimation is also demonstrated using the example of the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba. This could be done for the entire country if information on flood protection across Canada were available. The evaluation of the flood hazard map shows that the topography-based method adopted in this study is both practical and reliable for large-scale analysis. Sensitivity analysis regarding the resolution of the digital elevation model is needed to identify the resolution that is fine enough for reliable hazard mapping, but coarse enough for computational tractability. The nightlight data are found to be useful for exposure and risk mapping in Canada; however, uncertainty analysis should be conducted to investigate the effect of the overglow phenomenon on flood risk mapping.

Citation: Elshorbagy, A., Lakhanpal, A., Raja, B., Ceola, S., Montanari, A., and Lindenschmidt, K.-E.: Topography- and nightlight-based national flood risk assessment in Canada, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., doi:10.5194/hess-2016-524, in review, 2016.
Amin Elshorbagy et al.
Amin Elshorbagy et al.
Amin Elshorbagy et al.

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