Recent advances in flood forecasting and flood risk assessment
Abstract. Recent large floods in Europe have led to increased interest in research and development of flood forecasting systems. Some of these events have been provoked by some of the wettest rainfall periods on record which has led to speculation that such extremes are attributable in some measure to anthropogenic global warming and represent the beginning of a period of higher flood frequency. Whilst current trends in extreme event statistics will be difficult to discern, conclusively, there has been a substantial increase in the frequency of high floods in the 20th century for basins greater than 2x105 km2. There is also increasing that anthropogenic forcing of climate change may lead to an increased probability of extreme precipitation and, hence, of flooding. There is, therefore, major emphasis on the improvement of operational flood forecasting systems in Europe, with significant European Community spending on research and development on prototype forecasting systems and flood risk management projects. This Special Issue synthesises the most relevant scientific and technological results presented at the International Conference on Flood Forecasting in Europe held in Rotterdam from 3-5 March 2003. During that meeting 150 scientists, forecasters and stakeholders from four continents assembled to present their work and current operational best practice and to discuss future directions of scientific and technological efforts in flood prediction and prevention. The papers presented at the conference fall into seven themes, as follows.