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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-132
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-132
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 19 Apr 2018

Submitted as: research article | 19 Apr 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS). A final paper in HESS is not foreseen.

Compound flood potential in Europe

Dominik Paprotny1,2, Michalis I. Vousdoukas2,3, Oswaldo Morales-Nápoles1, Sebastiaan N. Jonkman1, and Luc Feyen2 Dominik Paprotny et al.
  • 1Department of Hydraulic Engineering, Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology, Stevinweg 1, 2628 CN Delft, The Netherlands
  • 2European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), Via Enrico Fermi 2749, 21027, Ispra, Italy
  • 3Department of Marine Sciences, University of the Aegean, University Hill, 41100, Mitilene, Lesbos, Greece

Abstract. The interaction between storm surges and inland runoff has been gaining increasing attention recently, as they have the potential to result in compound floods. In Europe, several flood events of this type have been recorded in the past century in Belgium, France, Ireland, Italy and United Kingdom. Here, we investigate the probability of joint occurrence of storm surges, precipitation, river discharges and waves. A coincidence of those factors have a potential to cause compound floods. We use several datasets covering most of Europe, including observations and data from the European Flood Awareness System (EFAS), ERA-Interim climate reanalysis and a regional climate model within the CORDEX framework, and carry out a statistical analysis based on copulas to assess the likelihood of joint occurrence. Further, we synthesize the joint probability of occurrence of extreme compound events, and their intensity, in the form of a composite index, thus identifying areas where compound floods could be of most concern. The results show considerable regional differences in dependency structure and the resulting joint probability of extreme surge, precipitation and river discharge events. In southern Europe the probability of joint occurrence of storm surge and precipitation is relatively high due to significant flash flood hazard. In northern Europe, along the main corridor of winter storms, dependency between surges and river discharges is higher than elsewhere, with large differences between west-facing and east-facing coasts. The occurrence of compound floods in most of the Nordic countries and along the Black Sea is very unlikely. The results allow the identification of areas at risk from compound flooding. Future studies that utilize statistical and physical methods are recommended to assess interactions between surges and inland runoff at a local scale.

Dominik Paprotny et al.
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Dominik Paprotny et al.
Dominik Paprotny et al.
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