Key projects

Other projects

Climate Extremes, Attribution and Forecasting

TiPESThe main aim of the TiPES project at IVM is to quantify tipping points, early warning signals and (compound) meteorological extremes over the Mediterranean basin. In addition, physical mechanisms driving such changes will be explored, by providing insights into both thermodynamic (e.g. temperature increase) and dynamic (e.g. changes in weather patterns, Hadley-cell expansion, northward shift of storm tracks) processes.

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LAMACLIMAThe project LAMACLIMA – LAnd MAnagement for CLImate Mitigation and Adaptation – investigates how changes in land cover and land management can help to meet the mitigation and adaptation objectives of the Paris Agreement, as well as the Sustainable Development Goals. The findings will be disseminated through a number of tools, events and products. By closely involving stakeholders and policy-makers, we aim to support sustainable land use decision-making. We will quantify the impacts of large-scale land management (e.g global reforestation, deforestation, irrigation and wood harvest) on climate, agriculture, biodiversity and economic productivity. At IVM we focus on the changes on the large-scale atmospheric circulation using state of the art global climate models. We will explore the impacts of land management on both climatic mean states and extremes and teleconnections patterns that might affect geographically distant key regions including the world’s breadbaskets.

Contact information: Dr Dim Coumou and Dr Iris Manola.

For more information please visit the following websites: and

Coast riskWe study sea levels and sea level extremes during warm climates: in the Last Interglacial (125,000 years ago) and in the future. We want to exploit the knowledge of the past to understand what the future can bring, in terms of changes in relative sea level, storm surges and tides.

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PERSISTSummer extremes are particularly devastating when they persist for several days: Many consecutive hot-and-dry days causing harvest failure, or stagnating wet extremes causing flooding. Despite this importance, persistence of extreme summer weather has largely been neglected by the climate science community. What maintains stagnating summer weather? Do climate models capture the underlying processes accurately? What is the role of global warming? Persistence is linked to sea-surface temperature, soil moisture and atmospheric circulation which are expected to change with future warming but the uncertainties are large.

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IMPRINTEach year Europe is subject to drought, heatwaves and periods of persistent rainfall that could lead to the flooding of rivers. Although short-range weather forecasts have improved substantially over the last decennia, long-range weather forecasts have improved less. The goal of this project is to improve these long-term probabilistic forecasts of extreme weather. Warnings can then be given earlier and more reliably. Long meteorological datasets and newly developed statistical post-processing methods enable us to better integrate the relevant information, and correct shortcomings of operational ensemble prediction systems.

Contact information: Chiem van Straaten, Dr Dim Coumou, Prof. Bart van den Hurk.

For more information, please visit the following websites: and

van Straaten, C., Whan, K., Coumou, D., van den Hurk, B., Schmeits, M. (2020). The influence of aggregation and statistical post-processing on the sub-seasonal predictability of European temperatures. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society (under review).


RECEIPTIn an interconnected world, Europe’s economy will be increasingly affected by climate change impacts that occur beyond its border. The movement of goods and services, people and capital occurs at ever increasing rates and volumes. This complex network reveals Europe’s globalized climate exposure, vulnerability and risk structure, through which both gradual and sudden impacts of climatic features at any location on the world (hurricanes, droughts, melting ice sheets) propagate, ultimately impacting Europe’s socio-economic welfare.

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Interglacial floodsThis is the first focus dedicated to global hydroclimate, hydrology and flooding of the Last Interglacial period, a past climate with partial analogy to possible warmer futures. For this period, we use models and geological proxies to study its patterns of precipitation, (peak) river discharge, and flooding. This serves both to test the performance of climate models and to offer an global picture of hydroclimate and hydrology in a regionally warmer world.

This study was conducted in collaboration with Earth and Climate Cluster, Faculty of Science, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

Contact information: Dr Paolo Scussolini, Prof. Jeroen Aerts, Prof. Philip Ward and Dr Dim Coumou.

For more information, please visit the site

Flood, Drought and Multi-Risk Assessment

Drought KenyaFood production in Kenya depends heavily on smallholder rain-fed agriculture; but farm households are challenged to match the erratic rainfall with crop water requirements. Increasing climate variability and changing socio-economic conditions are exacerbating the frequency and intensity of droughts and aggravate local food insecurity. Integrated water resources management and risk-informed disaster risk reduction strategies are key to ensure sustainable development in this country.

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News UKFuture climate projections show a strengthening of the hydrological cycle with more droughts and floods expected. This means a higher likelihood of cascading drought-to-flood disasters. Recent examples are the Millennium Drought – Brisbane flooding in Australia, the California drought – Oroville spillway collapse in the US, or the 2017-18 drought in East Africa followed by floods that resulted in hundreds of deaths. These events resulted in large economic losses, casualties and displacements. 

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MyriadMulti-hazard and sYstemic framework for enhancing Risk-Informed mAnagement and Decision-making in the EU

Natural hazards have caused ~100,000 fatalities and over €100 billion in economic losses in the EU since 2000. The last decade saw huge scientific advances in understanding natural hazard risks, and within the EU there has been a shift in practice from managing hazards to managing risks. Nevertheless, most research and policy still address risk from a single hazard, single sector, perspective. This presents obstacles for addressing real-world challenges faced by risk managers and other decision-makers. A paradigm shift is needed to successfully address these kinds of complex questions and challenges, in which science and practice move from a single hazard, single sector, risk perspective towards a multi-risk, multi-sector, systemic approach.

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Consecutive disasterIn recent decades, a striking number of countries have suffered from consecutive disasters: events whose impacts overlap both spatially and temporally, while recovery is still under way. The risk of consecutive disasters will increase due to growing exposure, the interconnectedness of human society and the increased frequency and intensity of non-tectonic hazard. While a large body of literature addresses multi-risk based on the spatial overlap between the exposure of different hazard types faced by one particular area, the temporal aspect of sequential hazards has been studied to a much lesser extent.

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STORMSTORM (Synthetic Tropical cyclone generation Model) is designed to statistically extend any meteorological dataset to 10,000 years of tropical cyclone activity under the same climate conditions.

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Coastal floodCoastal flooding due to tropical cyclones causes damages up to hundreds of billions of euros per event. The aim of the MOdelling Sea level And Inundation for Cyclones (MOSAIC) project is developing and validating a computationally efficient, scalable, framework for large-scale flood risk assessment.

We will simulate extreme sea levels for thousands of synthetic tropical cyclones – using goal programming as a tool to reduce the computational costs and combine multiple tropical cyclones into one simulation. We will simulate flood inundation at high resolution by nesting local models within a global model – by coupling our models with the OMUSE software which allows for a multi-scale modelling approach. The novel framework is an important step towards improved global assessments of flood risk.

This study is conducted in collaboration with Netherlands eScience Center and Deltares.

Contact information: Dr Sanne Muis, Prof. Philip Ward and Job Dullaart.

For more information, please visit the site

FWC2Water- and climate-related risks and developments show large differences between regions. The most significant challenges are projected for large portions of the developing world. However, the developed world also needs to adapt. Cities, infrastructure, and operations of many sectors are still based on the climate regime of the past. Global coherent adaptation pathways are still lacking. Creating them is an essential, first step towards sustainable and climate-resilient development. To address this, the Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving created that Future Water Challenges 2 (FWC2) project. This project aims to model these pathways forward. The IVM is leading the global flood risk modelling portion of FWC2. Using the revolutionary GLOFRIS framework, project members within IVM are tasked with quantifying the benefits and costs of disaster risk reduction strategies (e.g., structural barriers, nature-based solutions, managed retreat). These strategies are modelled against both existing and projected coastal and riverine flood risk. With these results, the IVM and project partners will lead the global charge to reduce the negative impacts of climate change on all segments of society.

This study is conducted in collaboration with PBL, Deltares and Utrecht University.

Contact information: Eric Mortensen and  Prof. Philip Ward.

© Henk de Boer
In the Water Safe Cities project, we provide 97 cities globally with an overview of flood and drought risk and corresponding expected annual damages. Cities require this information because they are taking increasingly more prominent roles in combating disaster risk, and because they are especially susceptible to disaster related damages due to their high levels of exposure. 

We focus on five hydrological hazards (pluvial, fluvial and coastal flooding & agricultural and hydrological drought) on both current as well as future (2050) timescales. Results are disseminated towards cities in a story map to create awareness and to steer them in the right direction for adaptation. This research is an initial step in better representing urban regions in global scale disaster models, which is needed to enable comparison between cities and identification of similar cities in terms of risk profiles and potential adaptation strategies.

This study is conducted in collaboration with Climate Adaptation Services (CAS) and C40-Cities. 

Contact information: Tristian Stolte, Dr Hans de Moel, Prof. Philip Ward.

Compound EventsHumanitarian crises often result from a combination of multiple physical and societal, rather than individual processes. In these situations, the combination of processes leads to ‘compound events’, which socio-economic impacts could be larger than those forecasted by analysing each event individually.  In recent years, the Horn of Africa has been increasingly exposed to compound events. Frequent extreme dry and wet conditions often compound with its fragile context characterized by internal ethnic conflicts, unstable governments, and high levels of poverty, resulting in impacts usually larger than expected. An improved understanding of the drivers and their interactions can help to reduce future risks associated to compound events. 

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WildfireWhile wildfires in the Netherlands do not compare to the disruptive events in Australia, they do pose an increasing risk to nature and society due to an increased risk of droughts. This was illustrated in 2018, one of the driest years since 1976, which showed a threefold increase of forest fire alarms compared to an average year.

In this project we assess: (1) the linkages between drought risk and wildfire risk in the Netherlands and (2) the socio-economic impacts of wildfires in the Netherlands.

This study was conducted in collaboration with VU Earth Sciences, Instituut Fysieke Veiligheid and Vandersat.

Contact information: Dr Marleen de Ruiter and Dr Toon Haer.


Compound riskFlooding in deltas and estuaries is driven by the interactions of oceanographic, hydrological, and meteorological phenomena such as extreme rainfall, river discharge, storm surge, and wave action. When these co-occur in space and time, they can exacerbate the flood extent, depth, and duration locally, resulting in a so-called compound flood event.

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CONNECT 4 WRConnect4WR explores the links between water resources and communities in four countries of the Limpopo Basin in southern Africa – Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The Limpopo basin is an arid, water-stressed basin, which is also highly susceptible to floods. Intermittent floods and droughts worsen water availability and quality problems, and both types of events are predicted to increase in frequency and magnitude with global climate change.

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WISC2In this project we aim, together with partners at KNMI, CGI and Reading University, at developing a near real-time operational system to estimate losses from storm systems hitting Europe. Funded by the European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecast (ECMWF), this project develops new climate services for the insurance and energy sector in Europe. It will become part of the Copernicus Climate Change Service implemented by ECMWF.

First, for individual storms the near-surface wind speed footprint is calculated (i.e. the Hazard). The infrastructure's exposure, based on OpenStreetMap, and vulnerability then, together with the storm's footprint determine the total estimated losses.

Contact information: Dr Dim Coumou and Dr Toon Haer.

For more information, please visit the site

CIMA visitIn 2018, as part of the ‘Building Disaster Resilience to Natural Hazards in Sub-Saharan African Regions, Countries and Communities’ Programme funded by the European Union, the National Disaster Management Authority, UNDRR and the CIMA Research Foundation, in collaboration with WUR and VU-IVM, have developed risk profiles for floods and droughts at national level for sixteen African countries. The Country Risk Profiles provide a comprehensive view of hazard, risk and uncertainties for floods and droughts in a changing climate and socio-economic situation, projected over the next 50 years. The profiles include an estimation – under current and future climate – of the monetary losses for a number of sectors identified by the Sendai targets, namely: housing, health and education, agriculture, productive asset, critical infrastructure, housing, services and transports.

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Baltic bloomsThe project's goal is to develop new methodologies to monitor our oceans’ health on a global scale. Satellite sensors such as NASA’s SeaWiFs and MERIS and the more recent OLCI sensor onboard ESA’s Sentinel-3 satellite have opened up the possibility to get a birds-eye view of our oceans and track changes over decadal scales. The research revolves around the development of new methods to invert multi- and hyperspectral data that is acquired by ocean colour satellites. With our new inversion scheme, we are able to estimate water quality parameters such as the concentration of different phytoplankton groups, dissolved and particulate matter in the world’s oceans. In this manner we hope to get a better understanding of the biological and chemical evolution of our oceans.

This study was conducted in collaboration with the University of Amsterdam.

Contact information: Tadzio Holtrop and Dr Hans van der Woerd.

For more information visit the site

Gonzalez-Rivero, M. et al. (2016). Scaling up Ecological Measurements of Coral Reefs Using Semi-Automated Field Image Collection and Analysis. Remote Sensing, 8(1), 30.

Image above: © contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2019), processed by ESA, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO


Hail riskWithin the EIT Climate-KIC programme ‘One Million near-zero energy homes in 2023’ the Institute for Enviromental Studies cooperates with Achmea (one of the largest insurers in the Netherlands) and the KNMI (Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute) to investigate hail risks.

Extreme hailstorms are associated with very warm (convective) weather conditions and can cause a lot of damage in very little time. In fact, the largest ever insured disaster in the Netherlands is a recent hailstorm (July 2016 in the province of Brabant) which costed about €600 million, and in Germany five large hailstorm resulted in €2500 million damage in 2013.

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The Global Flood Monitor provides a real-time overview of ongoing flood events as well as historic flood events based on Twitter data. Specifically, the global flood monitor (GFM) detects, in real-time, regions with enhanced flood-related Twitter activity and classifies these as flood events. Then, it generates a world-map visualizing these events and their relevant tweets. The platform also provides access to historical events dating back to July 2014.

Contact information: Dr Jens de Bruijn

For more information please visit the following site:

de Bruijn, J.A., de Moel, H., Jongman, B. et al. (2018). TAGGS: Grouping Tweets to Improve Global Geoparsing for Disaster Response.  Journal of Geovisualization and Spatial Analysis, 2, 2.

Global Flood Monitor overview

Socio-Hydrological Feedbacks and Risk Management

COASTMOVEWe study the effect of sea level rise until 2100 and its effect on global coastal flood risk. Through coupling and an agent-based model to a global flood risk model, we can simulate projections in flood risk due to SLR and socio-economic trends.

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Down2EarthThe Horn of Africa is a region plagued by recurrent droughts, which makes rural communities extremely vulnerable to water scarcity, food insecurity and economic losses during drought periods. Severe and prolonged droughts result in reduced soil moisture and groundwater reserves, which can lead to food insecurity, livestock loss and major water shortages; resources on which millions of people within the Horn of Africa drylands heavily rely. 

The EU-funded DOWN2EARTH project will improve community-centric adaptation and resilience to droughts in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. The project will assess and address critical research gaps within these dryland regions, including i) how climate change affects the characteristics of rainfall and groundwater storage, ii) how the evolution of hydrological processes will impact the people who depend on them, and (iii) how local communities can best adapt to drought risk. DOWN2EARTH will employ state-of-the-art seasonal forecasts and decadal projections of climate change and develop community-relevant climate services for the agro-pastoral populations, through for example a mobile application. 

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The project includes:

  • a comprehensive assessment of climate adaptation model and tool methods, including recommendations for future research and a database detailing the use of individual models and tools,
  • a recommended approach for future work on climate adaptation to inform the next EU Commission climate adaptation strategy,
  • a series of use cases and case studies to highlight the potential application of rapid analysis of reviewed models and tools for policy and decision making.

This study was conducted in collaboration with Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici (CMCC), Deltares, Paul Watkiss Associates (PWA).

Contact information: Rhian Ebrey, Marleen de Ruiter, Prof. Jeroen Aerts and Prof. Wouter Botzen.


Woman on landThe F4S project is seeking to strengthened the shift by the humanitarian actors from response after a shock/disasters to early measures/actions, before the first signs of food insecurity by:

  1. developing an impact-based forecasting model using machine learning on food insecurity drivers;
  2. collecting local knowledge on food insecurity and beneficiaries’ preference to key design elements of cash transfer programmes;
  3. evaluating the cost-effectiveness of different cash transfer mechanisms;
  4. exploring potential channels to disseminate knowledge and make first steps towards operationalization.

Contact information: Dr Gabriela Guimarães Nobre

Blue and green roofWith the RESILIO (Resilience nEtwork of Smart Innovative cLImate-adapative rOoftops) project, 10,000 m² of smart blue green roofs are being realized in Amsterdam. This is necessary because it rains more often and harder, as well as getting hotter. Excess rainwater is stored underneath the green layer of plants on the roof. The water can be retained or discharged with a smart valve connected to the weather forecast. This helps us to keep our feet dry and our heads cool. The roofs provide space for new nature, and that is good for the city. We bring roofs to life!

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New York-LAGoal: The project simulates the influence of Sea Level Rise and increased storminess on flood risk in New York City and Los Angeles. A series of climate, hydrodynamic and risk models have been used to simulate trends in flood risk over time. Different adaptation strategies have been developed varying from building code, NFIP based insurance, Nature based solutions and technical engineering approaches.

Contact information: Prof. Jeroen Aerts and Lars de Ruig

All references are mentioned here: