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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-2019-188
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-188
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 20 May 2019

Research article | 20 May 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

Reconstituting past flood events: the contribution of citizen science

Bocar Sy1, Corine Frischknecht1, Hy Dao2,3, David Consuegra1,4, and Gregory Giuliani3 Bocar Sy et al.
  • 1Department of Earth Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Geneva, 13 rue des Maraîchers, Geneva, 1205, Switzerland
  • 2Department of Geography and Environment, Geneva School of Social Sciences, University of Geneva, 66 boulevard Carl Vogt, Geneva, 1205, Switzerland
  • 3Institute for Environmental Sciences, University of Geneva, 66 Boulevard Carl Vogt, Geneva, 1205, Switzerland
  • 4Institute of Territorial Engineering, School of Management and Engineering Vaud, 1 route de Cheseaux, Yverdon-les-Bains, 1401, Switzerland

Abstract. Information gathered on past flood events is essential for understanding and assessing flood hazard. In this study, we present how citizen science can help retrieving this information, in particular in areas with scarce or no instrumental measurements on past events. The case study is located in Yeumbeul North (YN), Senegal, where flood impacts represent a growing concern for the local community. This area lacks instrumental records on flood extent and water depth as well as information on the chain of causative factors. We developed a framework using two techniques to retrieve information on past flood events by involving two groups of citizens who were present during the floods. The first technique targeted the part of the citizens’ memory, which records information on events, recalled through narratives, whereas the second technique focused on scaling past flood event intensities using different parts of the witnesses’ body. These techniques were used for 3 events, which occurred in 2005, 2009 and 2012. They proved complementary by providing quantitative information on flood extents and water depths, and by revealing factors that may have contributed in aggravating floods for 3 events which occurred in 2005, 2009 and 2012.

Bocar Sy et al.
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