Attribution of typhoon-induced torrential precipitation in Central Vietnam, October 2020

Linh N. Luu*, Paolo Scussolini, Sarah Kew, Sjoukje Philip, Mugni Hadi Hariadi, Robert Vautard, Khiem Van Mai, Thang Van Vu, Kien Ba Truong, Friederike Otto, Gerard Van Der Schrier, M.K. Van Aalst, Geert Jan Van Oldenborgh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
79 Downloads (Pure)


In October 2020, Central Vietnam was struck by heavy rain resulting from a sequence of 5 tropical depressions and typhoons. The immense amount of water led to extensive flooding and landslides that killed more than 200 people, injured more than 500 people, and caused direct damages valued at approximately 1.2 billion USD. Here, we quantify how the intensity of the precipitation leading to such exceptional impacts is attributable to anthropogenic climate change. First, we define the event as the regional maximum of annual maximum 15-day average rainfall (Rx15day). We then analyse the trend in Rx15day over Central Vietnam from the observations and simulations in the PRIMAVERA and CORDEX-CORE ensembles, which pass our evaluation tests, by applying the generalised extreme value (GEV) distribution in which location and scale parameters exponentially covary with increasing global temperatures. Combining these observations and model results, we find that the 2020 event, occurring about once every 80 years (at least 17 years), has not changed in either probability of occurrence (a factor 1.0, ranging from 0.4 to 2.4) or intensity (0%, ranging from −8 to +8%) in the present climate in comparison with early-industrial climate. This implies that the effect of human-induced climate change contributing to this persistent extreme rainfall event is small compared to natural variability. However, given the scale of damage of this hazard, our results underline that more investment in disaster risk reduction for this type of rainfall-induced flood hazard is of importance, even independent of the effect of anthropogenic climate change. Moreover, as both observations and model simulations will be extended with the passage of time, we encourage more climate change impact investigations on the extreme in the future that help adaptation and mitigation plans and raise awareness in the country.
Original languageEnglish
Article number24
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalClimatic change
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2021




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