Global Floods Initiative


The Global Floods Initiative takes a comprehensive, end-to-end approach to managing extreme flood impacts—an approach that integrates short- to long-term climate forecasting, reservoir design and operations, land use considerations, disaster preparedness and response, and supply-chain risk analysis along with new insurance and other financial instruments to help the most economically vulnerable.

The Global Floods Initiative is developing enhanced prediction models for extreme floods and exploring how they impact regions as well as supply chain networks. A key aspect involves using a dynamic risk paradigm to predict and manage flood risk in the face of climate change. Climate-informed, regularly updated flood risk projections are being developed at a global scale.

Truly multidisciplinary, this initiative integrates the expertise of leading environmental and industrial engineers, in partnership with private companies from manufacturing and insurance industries, government agencies, and international organizations.

A comprehensive climate risk management strategy

Projects and Impacts

Through the Global Floods Initiative Columbia Water Center has completed projects that aim to improve flood predication and forecasting, and reduce the negative impacts of floods around the world. Columbia Water Center, in conjunction with UMass Amherst, NCAR and the U.S. Military Academy, is developing robust methodology for estimating future hydrologic extremes based on historical observations and credible climate projections.


Water Research and Flood & Erosion Risk Mitigation Planning in Assam

Large-scale hydrology experts at the CWC are providing the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) with flood forecasting system to improve response and recovery from flood and erosion events.


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Climate Predictability of Extreme Floods

It is critical for scientists to develop a better understanding of the structure and predictability of the specific climate factors that lead to extreme floods, especially in an era of human caused climate change.



Managing Water Risks through the Supply Chain

The CWC is using the multi-disciplinary expertise of environmental and industrial engineers to investigate the impact of floods on supply chain networks.




Floods in South America with Focus on Brazil

In order to reduce the negative impacts of floods, CWC scientists analyze data, and observe streamflow levels and precipitation patterns to better understand the causes of major weather events in Brazil.


 Moisture Fluxes – France

In France, floods are the most common and financially devastating of all natural disasters. Since these events have such a large impact on the economy, CWC interns are studying the linkages between floods and atmospheric rivers in order to be able to predict floods in the future.



For additional relevant papers, click here. If you have any questions or would like to correspond with the Columbia Water Center on flood- or disaster-related research, please contact Masa Haraguchi.