NZ Herald – Chris de Freitas: Flood prediction fraught with uncertainty

In an opinion piece in the New Zealand Herald, Chris de Freitas of the University of Auckland explains why the six primary strategies used to deal with vulnerability to floods are all problematic.

He explains why one cannot simply assume a 50 year flood (for example) happens every 50 years, and asks whether climate change may have changed the assumption of stationarity: that the probability of climatic events which lead to events such as floods, don’t change over time.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

“Unlike many other natural hazards, their frequency puts them high in importance on the list of natural disasters for most countries.

“Clearly, heavy rainfall is implicated in causing a flood disaster.

“But vulnerability to flood loss is generated by human action. Many settlements are located near rivers, which also serve as transport routes and sites for protected harbours. Fertile alluvial soils adjacent to waterways attract farming communities.”