Numerical simulation of the coastal flooding in urban centres with underground spaces

Yong Peng, Ulrich S. Ofterdinger, Aaron Miller, John Meneely, Jennifer McKinley, Debra Laefer, Michela Bertolotto

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Across coastal urban centres, underground spaces such as storage areas, transportation corridors, basement car parks, public facilities, retail & office and private spaces present a priority risk during flood events with respect to timely evacuation. However, these underground spaces are commonly not considered in urban flood prediction models, in many cases because the location and geometry of these underground spaces are often poorly known. In order to improve urban flood prediction models, various identified underground spaces have been included into the urban flood simulation presented in this paper. Here, the Software MIKE+ is adopted to simulate the coastal flood scenarios for the urban centre of the city of Belfast, Northern Ireland. In the simulation, unstructured triangular grids are used. Based on the numerical simulation, urban flood depth and flooding rates into the underground spaces can be obtained. Based on the comparison of simulated urban flood scenarios with and without underground spaces, the impact of underground spaces on street-level inundation and flood routing is evaluated. It can be observed that the inclusion of underground space has a significant impact on the flood routing process. Moreover, the underground spaces also present priority risk areas during flood events with respect to timely evacuation and to this end, underground spaces cannot be ignored in real urban flood prediction. The presented study can be used to increase communities’ emergency preparedness and flood resilience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7103-7109
Number of pages7
JournalProceedings of the IAHR World Congress
StatePublished - 2022
Event39th IAHR World Congress, 2022 - Granada, Spain
Duration: Jun 19 2022Jun 24 2022


  • Coastal flooding
  • Flood routing process
  • Numerical simulation
  • Urban centre with underground space

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology


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