A Bayesian network approach for coastal risk analysis and decision making

W. S. Jäger*, E. K. Christie, A. M. Hanea, C. den Heijer, T. Spencer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)
30 Downloads (Pure)


Emergency management and long-term planning in coastal areas depend on detailed assessments (meter scale) of flood and erosion risks. Typically, models of the risk chain are fragmented into smaller parts, because the physical processes involved are very complex and consequences can be diverse. We developed a Bayesian network (BN) approach to integrate the separate models. An important contribution is the learning algorithm for the BN. As input data, we used hindcast and synthetic extreme event scenarios, information on land use and vulnerability relationships (e.g., depth-damage curves). As part of the RISC-KIT (Resilience-Increasing Strategies for Coasts toolKIT) project, we successfully tested the approach and algorithm in a range of morphological settings. We also showed that it is possible to include hazards from different origins, such as marine and riverine sources. In this article, we describe the application to the town of Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk, UK, which is vulnerable to storm surges. For any storm input scenario, the BN estimated the percentage of affected receptors in different zones of the site by predicting their hazards and damages. As receptor types, we considered people, residential and commercial properties, and a saltmarsh ecosystem. Additionally, the BN displays the outcome of different disaster risk reduction (DRR) measures. Because the model integrates the entire risk chain with DRR measures and predicts in real-time, it is useful for decision support in risk management of coastal areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-61
Number of pages14
JournalCoastal Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Disaster risk reduction
  • Natural hazards
  • Source-pathway-receptor concept
  • Southern North Sea


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