Probabilistic Flood Hazard Maps from Monte Carlo Derived Peak Flow Values—An Application to Flood Risk Management in Zamora City (Spain)

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All flood hazard and risk assessment suffer from a certain degree of uncertainty due to multiple factors, such as flood frequency analysis, hydrodynamic model calibration, or flood damage (magnitude–damage functions) models. The uncertainty linked to the flood frequency analysis is one of the most important factors (previous and present estimation point to 40%). Flood frequency analysis uncertainty has been approached from different points of view, such as the application of complex statistical models, the regionalization processes of peak flows, or the inclusion of non-systematic data. Here, we present an achievable approach to defining the uncertainty linked to flood frequency analysis by using the Monte Carlo method. Using the city of Zamora as the study site, the uncertainty is delimited by confidence intervals of a peak flow quantile of a 500-year return period. Probabilistic maps are derived from hydrodynamic results, and further analysis include flood hazard maps for human loss of stability and vehicle damage. Although the effect of this uncertainty is conditioned by the shape of the terrain, the results obtained may allow managers to achieve more consistent land-use planning. All those Zamora city results point out the probable underestimation of flood hazard (the higher hazard areas increase around 20%) and risk when the uncertainty analysis is not considered, thus limiting the efficiency of flood risk management tasks.
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