Research papers Our research has been critically tested and refined through academic peer-review over the past 15 years and published in world-leading scientific journals.

Our key research advances, 1992-2021

Modelling floodplain flows using a two-dimensional finite element model

Professor Paul Bates’ first paper describing a 2D flood model.

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A simple raster-based model for flood inundation simulation

Seminal paper describing the first grid-based flood model.

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Reach scale floodplain inundation dynamics observed using airborne synthetic aperture radar imagery: Data analysis and modelling

First description of remotely-sensed imagery in model validation.

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A simple inertial formulation of the shallow water equations for efficient two-dimensional flood inundation modelling

Hugely influential paper describing new formulation of shallow water equations.

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A subgrid channel model for simulating river hydraulics and floodplain inundation over large and data sparse areas

Presentation of sub-grid hydraulic model structures.

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A high-resolution global flood hazard model

First description of a high-resolution global flood model.

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Validation of a 30 m resolution flood hazard model of the conterminous United States

First validation of a large-scale flood model.

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Estimates of present and future flood risk in the conterminous United States

Presentation of current and future flood risk in the US.

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The Spatial Dependence of Flood Hazard and Risk in the United States

Methodology for Fathom-US CAT model.

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Combined Modeling of US Fluvial, Pluvial, and Coastal Flood Hazard Under Current and Future Climates

Validation of the methodologies underpinning Fathom-US 2.0

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A 30m global map of elevation with forests and buildings removed

Influential paper exploring the development of FABDEM – our global digital elevation model

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01 1992

Modelling floodplain flows using a two-dimensional finite element model

Professor Paul Bates’ first paper describing a 2D flood model.

Read paper
02 2000

A simple raster-based model for flood inundation simulation

Seminal paper describing the first grid-based flood model.

Read paper
03 2006

Reach scale floodplain inundation dynamics observed using airborne synthetic aperture radar imagery: Data analysis and modelling

First description of remotely-sensed imagery in model validation.

Read paper
04 2010

A simple inertial formulation of the shallow water equations for efficient two-dimensional flood inundation modelling

Hugely influential paper describing new formulation of shallow water equations.

Read paper
05 2012

A subgrid channel model for simulating river hydraulics and floodplain inundation over large and data sparse areas

Presentation of sub-grid hydraulic model structures.

Read paper
06 2015

A high-resolution global flood hazard model

First description of a high-resolution global flood model.

Read paper
07 2017

Validation of a 30 m resolution flood hazard model of the conterminous United States

First validation of a large-scale flood model.

Read paper
08 2018

Estimates of present and future flood risk in the conterminous United States

Presentation of current and future flood risk in the US.

Read paper
09 2019

The Spatial Dependence of Flood Hazard and Risk in the United States

Methodology for Fathom-US CAT model.

Read paper
10 2021

Combined Modeling of US Fluvial, Pluvial, and Coastal Flood Hazard Under Current and Future Climates

Validation of the methodologies underpinning Fathom-US 2.0

Read paper
11 NEW 2022

A 30m global map of elevation with forests and buildings removed

Influential paper exploring the development of FABDEM – our global digital elevation model

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New Research Paper

Increased population exposure to Amphan-scale cyclones under future climates

In 2020 Cyclone Amphan made landfall in the Bay of Bengal and was the first super tropical cyclonic storm to occur in the area in over 20 years. This paper explores what would happen if this event were to occur in the future, asking: would the risks associated with it change?

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Research Paper

A 30 m global map of elevation with forests and buildings removed

This work signifies one of the biggest step-changes in global flood modelling capabilities since the advent of the field.

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Research Paper

Inequitable patterns of US flood risk in the Anthropocene

Climate change will have major impact on cost of flooding, according to pioneering research led by Dr Oliver Wing, Chief Research Officer at Fathom

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Research Paper

Flood Inundation Prediction

This review surveys recent progress made to address fundamental issues surrounding globally consistent mapping of flood hazard in underdeveloped countries. This is achieved through a novel combination of appropriate physics, efficient numerical algorithms, high-performance computing, new sources of big data, and model automation frameworks.

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Research Paper

Voluntary purchases and adverse selection in the market for flood insurance

In a wide-ranging analysis in collaboration with Jacob Bradt (Harvard) and Carolyn Kousky (Wharton), we find voluntary insurance purchases are preferentially taking place in areas where Fathom’s model deviates from FEMA flood maps.

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Research Paper

An assessment of large-scale flood modelling based on LiDAR data

In this paper we collaborated with colleagues at the University of Concordia to demonstrate the value of bathymetry estimation in large scale model frameworks by testing across four watersheds in Quebec, Canada.

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Research Paper

Causes, impacts and patterns of disastrous river floods

  • Merz, B.,
  • Blöschl, G.,
  • Vorogushyn, S.,
  • Dottori, F.,
  • Aerts, J.,
  • Bates, P.,
  • Bertola, M.,
  • Kreibich, H.,
  • Lall, U.,
  • Macdonald, E.

Paul Bates contributes to a significant review in Nature of the causes and impacts of disastrous river flooding, and their past and projected trends.

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Research Paper

Environmental Impact Bonds: a common framework and looking ahead

  • Brand, M.,
  • Quesnel, K.,
  • Saksa, P.,
  • Ulibarri, N.,
  • Bomblies, A.,
  • Mandle, L.,
  • Allaire, M.,
  • Wing, O.,
  • Tobin-de la Puente, J.,
  • Parker, E.

Environment Impact Bonds (EIBs) are in their infancy, yet are increasingly recognised as a funding solution to tackle the world’s most pressing environmental challenges. Our contribution, alongside colleagues at The Nature Conservancy, discusses how recent developments to flood models at scale can help to inform both the principal and the repayment interest rate for flood mitigation projects, such as floodplain conservation.

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Research Paper

Attributable human-induced changes in the magnitude of flooding in the Houston, Texas region during Hurricane Harvey

Using Fathom’s US flood model to examine how climate change exacerbated the impact of Hurricane Harvey, which devastated Houston in 2017.

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Research Paper

Estimating River Channel Bathymetry in Large Scale Flood Inundation Models

In this technical paper, we discuss the importance of estimating channel bathymetry in data-sparse areas. We demonstrate that the application of gradually varied flow theory to estimate bathymetry in a global flood model reduced model error compared to a target water surface profile by 66%.

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Research Paper

Simulating historical flood events at the continental scale: observational validation of a large-scale hydrodynamic model

This paper discusses the challenges of using observed historical flood events to validate large-scale models.

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Research Paper

Flood exposure and social vulnerability in the United States

This study explores the geography of flood exposure and social vulnerability in the conterminous United States, and finds racial minorities and mobile-home occupiers in rural Southern communities to be over-represented where exposure and social vulnerability converge.