Hydro-meteorological risk assessment methods and management by nature-based solutions

Sahani, J. et al. | Science of the Total Environment | 2019 | Peer Reviewed | Review | https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.133936


Hydro-meteorological risk (HMR) management involves a range of methods, such as monitoring of uncertain climate, planning and prevention by technical countermeasures, risk assessment, preparedness for risk by early-warnings, spreading knowledge and awareness, response and recovery. To execute HMR management by risk assessment, many models and tools, ranging from conceptual to sophisticated/numerical methods are currently in use. However, there is still a gap in systematically classifying and documenting them in the field of disaster risk management. This paper discusses various methods used for HMR assessment and its management via potential nature-based solutions (NBS), which are actually lessons learnt from nature. We focused on three hydro-meteorological hazards (HMHs), floods, droughts and heatwaves, and their management by relevant NBS. Different methodologies related to the chosen HMHs are considered with respect to exposure, vulnerability and adaptation interaction of the elements at risk. Two widely used methods for flood risk assessment are fuzzy logic (e.g. fuzzy analytic hierarchy process) and probabilistic methodology (e.g. univariate and multivariate probability distributions). Different kinds of indices have been described in the literature to define drought risk, depending upon the type of drought and the purpose of evaluation. For heatwave risk estimation, mapping of the vulnerable property and population-based on geographical information system is a widely used methodology in addition to a number of computational, mathematical and statistical methods, such as principal component analysis, extreme value theorem, functional data analysis, the Ornstein–Uhlenbeck process and meta-analysis. NBS (blue, green and hybrid infrastructures) are promoted for HMR management. For example, marshes and wetlands in place of dams for flood and drought risk reduction, and green infrastructure for urban cooling and combating heatwaves, are potential NBS. More research is needed into risk assessment and management through NBS, to enhance its wider significance for sustainable living, building adaptations and resilience.