A review of modelling methodologies for flood source area (FSA) identification

A. Singh*, D. Dawson, M. Trigg, N. Wright

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

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Flooding is an important global hazard that causes an average annual loss of over 40 billion USD and affects a population of over 250 million globally. The complex process of flooding depends on spatial and temporal factors such as weather patterns, topography, and geomorphology. In urban environments where the landscape is ever-changing, spatial factors such as ground cover, green spaces, and drainage systems have a significant impact. Understanding source areas that have a major impact on flooding is, therefore, crucial for strategic flood risk management (FRM). Although flood source area (FSA) identification is not a new concept, its application is only recently being applied in flood modelling research. Continuous improvements in the technology and methodology related to flood models have enabled this research to move beyond traditional methods, such that, in recent years, modelling projects have looked beyond affected areas and recognised the need to address flooding at its source, to study its influence on overall flood risk. These modelling approaches are emerging in the field of FRM and propose innovative methodologies for flood risk mitigation and design implementation; however, they are relatively under-examined. In this paper, we present a review of the modelling approaches currently used to identify FSAs, i.e. unit flood response (UFR) and adaptation-driven approaches (ADA). We highlight their potential for use in adaptive decision making and outline the key challenges for the adoption of such approaches in FRM practises.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1047–1068
Number of pages22
JournalNatural Hazards
Issue number2
Early online date13 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Flooding
  • Flood sources identification
  • Hydrological modelling
  • Unit flood response
  • Adaptation
  • Variable source areas
  • Flood source areas


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