Flood vulnerability of a few areas in the foothills of the Western Ghats: a comparison of AHP and F-AHP models

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Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences


Flooding is one of the most destructive natural catastrophes that can strike anywhere in the world. With the recent, but frequent catastrophic flood events that occurred in the narrow stretch of land in southern India, sandwiched between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea, this study was initiated. The goal of this research is to identify flood-vulnerable zones in this area by making the local self governing bodies as the mapping unit. This study also assessed the predictive accuracy of analytical hierarchy process (AHP) and fuzzy-analytical hierarchy process (F-AHP) models. A total of 20 indicators (nine physical-environmental variables and 11 socio-economic variables) have been considered for the vulnerability modelling. Flood-vulnerability maps, created using remotely sensed satellite data and geographic information systems, was divided into five zones. AHP and F-AHP flood vulnerability models identified 12.29% and 11.81% of the area as very high-vulnerable zones, respectively. The receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve is used to validate these flood vulnerability maps. The flood vulnerable maps, created using the AHP and F-AHP methods, were found to be outstanding based on the area under the ROC curve (AUC) values. This demonstrates the effectiveness of these two models. The results of AUC for the AHP and F-AHP models were 0.946 and 0.943, respectively, articulating that the AHP model is more efficient than its chosen counterpart in demarcating the flood vulnerable zones. Decision-makers and land-use planners will find the generated vulnerable zone maps useful, particularly in implementing flood mitigation plans.

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The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2022. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00477-022-02267-2

Publication Title

Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment