Flooding in London

Effects on Energy, Transport and Tourism Sectors

What do the results tell us?

The results show that the vulnerability of London's economy to flooding events, now and in the future, is affected primarily by damage to the transport system (affecting movement of labour), power and water infrastructure, the professional services sector (primarily offices) and the hotel and food industries (related primarily to the economic sectors related to tourism).

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What can we do with the results?

The results can help decision-makers direct adaptation funds so they produce the greatest reduction in the vulnerability of the city's economy to extreme weather events. This can be done by adjusting the Sector Vulnerability Matrix so the production assets of an economic sector are protected prior to flooding. For example, by protecting buildings that house the most significant economic activities, or moving the locations of those buildings outside flood zones; and by allocating recovery resources to bring about repairs in those sectors that are contributing most strongly to the loss of GDP during the recovery period (allocating those resources in advance of return of demand for the products and/or services of a sector).

How are the results obtained?

Results were obtained using an Input-output model of London's economy, linked to climate projections supplied by the partners at University of East Anglia. The model was used to simulate 1-in-100 year pluvial flooding events in London in 2015, 2050 and 2100, and then to follow both the direct and indirect economic impacts of this flooding during a recovery period using the input-output model. The Sector Vulnerability Matrix was developed from information supplied by the ARCADIA project, assuming locations of production facilities of each sector are randomly distributed throughout London; this assumption can be changed as a city develops more detailed mappings of the locations of production facilities. 

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What are the broader applications?

The same methodology can be applied to any community, nation or region for which the necessary input-output data are available. Since the input-output data contain all economic sectors, the methodology can be applied to any sector for which the Sector Vulnerability Matrix can be supplied. This in turn requires detailed hydrological information for the geographic area, linked to the RCP projections of SPEI.

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Key Messages and Conclusions

Adaptation strategies can significantly reduce economic losses through severe flooding events

Model simulations performed for the city of London show that loss of GDP caused by severe flooding is influenced significantly by how the city chooses to allocate recovery resources after flooding has taken place

(Click on chart image to explore the data)

GDP loss in billions of 2012 euros per 1-in-100 year flooding event in case of no adaptation (option 0) and 3 different adaptation strategies (options 1-3).

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