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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 7159132, 11 pages
Research Article

A Multimethod Approach towards Assessing Urban Flood Patterns and Its Associated Vulnerabilities in Singapore

1Department of Geography, National University of Singapore, AS2, No. 03-01, 1 Arts Link, Kent Ridge, Singapore 117570
2Institute of Water Policy, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, 469C Bukit Timah Road, Wing A, Level 2, Oei Tiong Ham Building, Singapore 259772

Received 14 December 2015; Revised 5 April 2016; Accepted 23 May 2016

Academic Editor: Huan Wu

Copyright © 2016 Winston T. L. Chow et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We investigated flooding patterns in the urbanised city-state of Singapore through a multimethod approach combining station precipitation data with archival newspaper and governmental records; changes in flash floods frequencies or reported impacts of floods towards Singapore society were documented. We subsequently discussed potential flooding impacts in the context of urban vulnerability, based on future urbanisation and forecasted precipitation projections for Singapore. We find that, despite effective flood management, (i) significant increases in reported flash flood frequency occurred in contemporary (post-2000) relative to preceding (1984–1999) periods, (ii) these flash floods coincide with more localised, “patchy” storm events, (iii) storms in recent years are also more intense and frequent, and (iv) floods result in low human casualties but have high economic costs via insurance damage claims. We assess that Singapore presently has low vulnerability to floods vis-à-vis other regional cities largely due to holistic flood management via consistent and successful infrastructural development, widespread flood monitoring, and effective advisory platforms. We conclude, however, that future vulnerabilities may increase from stresses arising from physical exposure to climate change and from demographic sensitivity via rapid population growth. Anticipating these changes is potentially useful in maintaining the high resilience of Singapore towards this hydrometeorological hazard.