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Investigating, understanding and visualising floods through the Wetropolis Flood Investigator

Academic lead
Onno Bokhove, School of Mathematics,
Industrial lead
Richard Crowder, Jacobs,
Greg de Boer, School of Mechanical Engineering,, Mark Trigg, School of Civil Engineering,, Amrie Singh, School of Civil Engineering,
Project themes
Environmental Flows, Geophysical and Astrophysical Flows, Underpinning Methods for Fluid Dynamics

We introduce Wetropolis: a mathematical and physical model set-up. Wetropolis consists of a random weather or rain machine driving rainfall in a down-scaled river-catchment landscape. When this randomly determined rainfall is extreme, we will observe flooding in a conceptual city. Wetropolis visualises the random nature of a return-period or Annual Exceedance Probability (AEP) for extreme events. Instead of waiting for on average 100 years for a 1:100yr flood, Wetropolis’ return-periods for 1-2-3-day(s) of extreme events are shorter, circa 50s, 5min and 28min on average, while a “Wetropolis Day” is only 10s. 

Interactions with flood professionals revealed that Wetropolis should be used as a policy and scientific flood investigator. Hence, we arrive at the following main objective: we will employ Wetropolis to investigate modern (machine-learning) forecasting tools, flood control, and validate model forecasts against Wetropolis as a scientific laboratory experiment.

Come and see Wetropolis (photo courtesy: CDT)! E.g., on YouTube: