A multi-source 120-year US flood database with a unified common format and public access

Li, Zhi; Chen, Mengye; Gao, Shang; Gourley, Jonathan J.; Yang, Tiantian; Shen, Xinyi; Kolar, Randall; Hong, Yang

Despite several flood databases available in the United States, there is a benefit to combine and reconcile these diverse data sources into a comprehensive flood database with a unified common format and easy public access in order to facilitate flood-related research and applications. Typically, floods are reported by specialists or media according to their socioeconomic impacts. Recently, data-driven analysis can reconstruct flood events based on in situ and/or remote-sensing data. Lately, with the increasing engagement of citizen scientists, there is the potential to enhance flood reporting in near-real time. The central objective of this study is to integrate information from seven popular multi-sourced flood databases into a comprehensive flood database in the United States, made readily available to the public in a common data format. Natural language processing, geocoding, and harmonizing processing steps are undertaken to facilitate such development. In total, there are 698 507 flood records in the United States from 1900 to the present, which highlights the longest and most comprehensive recording of flooding across the country. The database features event locations, durations, date/times, socioeconomic impacts (e.g., fatalities and economic damages), and geographic information (e.g., elevation, slope, contributing area, and land cover types retrieved from ancillary data for given flood locations). Finally, this study utilizes the flood database to analyze flood seasonality within major basins and socioeconomic impacts over time. It is anticipated that thus far the most comprehensive yet unified database can support a variety of flood-related research, such as a validation resource for hydrologic or hydraulic simulations, hydroclimatic studies concerning spatiotemporal patterns of floods, and flood susceptibility analysis for vulnerable geophysical locations. The dataset is publicly available with the following DOI: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4547036https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4547036 (Li, 2020).

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Li, Zhi / Chen, Mengye / Gao, Shang / et al: A multi-source 120-year US flood database with a unified common format and public access. 2021. Copernicus Publications.

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