Capturing flood-risk dynamics with a coupled agent-based and hydraulic modelling framework

T. Michaelis, L. Brandimarte, M. Mazzoleni

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


© 2020, © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.Two-way interactions and feedback between hydrological and social processes in settled floodplains determine the complex human–flood system and change vulnerability over time. To focus on the dynamic role of individual and governmental decision making on flood-risk management, we developed and implemented a coupled agent-based and hydraulic modelling framework. Within this framework, household agents are located in a floodplain protected by a levee system. Individual behaviour is based on Protection Motivation Theory and includes the options to (1) not react to flood risk; (2) implement individual flood protection measures; or (3) file a complaint to the government. The government decides about reinforcing the levee system, compromising between a cost-benefit analysis and filed complaints from households. We found that individual decision making can significantly influence flood risk. In addition, the coupled agent-based and hydraulic modelling framework approach captures commonly observed socio-hydrological dynamics, namely levee and adaptation effects. It provides an explanatory tool for assessing spatial and temporal dynamics of flood risk in a socio-hydrological system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1458-1473
JournalHydrological Sciences Journal
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes


Tamara Michaelis was supported by the European Research Council (ERC) within the project HydroSocialExtremes: Uncovering the Mutual Shaping of Hydrological Extremes and Society [ERC Consolidator Grant 771678, H2020 Excellent Science]. Part of this research was also supported by the Swedish Research Council FORMAS and the Centre of Natural Hazards and Disaster Science, CNDS.

FundersFunder number
Centre of Natural Hazards and Disaster Science
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme771678
H2020 Excellent Science
European Research Council
Svenska Forskningsrådet Formas


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