An Overview of Flood Concepts, Challenges, and Future Directions

Publication Year


Journal Article
This review provides a broad overview of the current state of flood research, current challenges, and future directions. Beginning with a discussion of flood-generating mechanisms, the review synthesizes the literature on flood forecasting, multivariate and nonstationary flood frequency analysis, urban flooding, and the remote sensing of floods. Challenges and future flood research directions are outlined and highlight emerging topics where more work is needed to help mitigate flood risks. It is anticipated that the future urban systems will likely have more significant flood risk due to the compounding effects of continued climate change and land-use intensification. The timely prediction of urban floods, quantification of the socioeconomic impacts of flooding, and developing mitigation strategies will continue to be challenging. There is a need to bridge the scales between model capabilities and end-user needs by integrating multiscale models, stakeholder input, and social and citizen science input for flood monitoring, mapping, and dissemination. Although much progress has been made in using remote sensing for flood applications, recent and upcoming Earth Observations provide excellent potential to unlock additional benefits for flood applications. The flood community can benefit from more downscaled, as well as ensemble scenarios that consider climate and land-use changes. Efforts are also needed for data assimilation approaches, especially to ingest local, citizen, and social media data. Also needed are enhanced capabilities to model compound hazards and assess as well as help reduce social vulnerability and impacts. The dynamic and complex interactions between climate, societal change, watershed processes, and human factors often confronted with deep uncertainty highlights the need for transdisciplinary research between science, policymakers, and stakeholders to reduce flood risk and social vulnerability.
Journal of Hydrologic Engineering