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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2017-356
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2017-356
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 21 Jul 2017

Submitted as: research article | 21 Jul 2017

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS). The revised manuscript was not accepted.

Flood type classification and assessment of their past changes across Europe

Yeshewatesfa Hundecha1, Juraj Parajka2, and Alberto Viglione2 Yeshewatesfa Hundecha et al.
  • 1Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, Folkborgsvägen 17, 601 76, Norrköping, Sweden
  • 2Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management, Vienna University of Technology, Karlsplatz 13 E222/2, 1040, Vienna, Austria

Abstract. This study was carried out to establish the characteristics of observed flood events across Europe in the past in terms of their spatial extent and the processes leading up to the events. Daily discharge data from more than 745 stations of the Global Runoff Data Centre were used to identify peak flows at each station for the period 1961-2010. The identified events at the different stations were further analysed to determine whether they form the same flood event, thereby delineating the spatial extent of the flood events. A pan-European hydrological model was employed to estimate a set of catchment hydrological and hydro-meteorological state variables that are relevant in the flood generation process for each of the identified spatially delineated flood events. A subsequent clustering of the events based on the simulated state variables was used to identify the flood generation mechanism of each flood event. Four general flood generation mechanisms were identified: long-rain flood, short-rain flood, snowmelt flood, and rain-on-snow flood. A trend analysis was performed to investigate how the frequency of each of the flood types has changed in time over the investigation period. In order to investigate whether there is a regional and seasonal pattern in the dominant flood generating mechanisms, this analysis was performed separately for winter and summer seasons and five different regions of Europe: Northern, Western, Eastern, Southern Europe, and the Alps. Continentally, the total number of flood events didn’t show a significant change. However, the frequency of winter long rain events increased significantly while that of summer rain-on-snow events decreased significantly over the investigation period. Regional differences were detected in the dominant flood generating mechanism and the corresponding trends. In Western Europe, the frequency of both winter and summer rainfall events increased significantly. In Northern and Eastern Europe, the frequency of summer rain-on-snow events decreased significantly. In addition, winter short rainfall events increased significantly in Eastern Europe. In the Alps, the frequency of summer short rain events increased significantly.

Yeshewatesfa Hundecha et al.
Interactive discussion
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Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Interactive discussion
Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement
Yeshewatesfa Hundecha et al.
Data sets

Catalogue of flood event types and their characteristics Y. Hundecha, J. Parajka, and A. Viglione https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.581454

Seasonal and annual regional changes in flood process types Y. Hundecha, J. Parajka, and A. Viglione https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.581452

Yeshewatesfa Hundecha et al.
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Short summary
The main triggering mechanisms of flood events in different regions of Europe in the recent past have been identified and changes in their frequency in time have been investigated. Although the frequency of occurence of flooding hasn't changed continentally over a 50 years period, the frequency of heavy rain induced floods has been on the rise in Western Europe and the Alps while the frequency of floods caused by rain falling on snow covers has been declining in Norhern and Eastern Europe.
The main triggering mechanisms of flood events in different regions of Europe in the recent past...
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