Title: Flood trends in Europe: Are changes in small and big floods different?
Authors: Bertola, Miriam 
Viglione, Alberto 
Lun, David 
Hall, Julia 
Blöschl, Günter 
Category: Original Research Article
Issue Date: 9-Apr-2020
Bertola, M., Viglione, A., Lun, D., Hall, J., & Blöschl, G. (2020). Flood trends in Europe: Are changes in small and big floods different? Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, 24(4), 1805–1822. https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-24-1805-2020
Journal: Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 
ISSN: 1027-5606
Recent studies have revealed evidence of trends in the median or mean flood discharge in Europe over the last 5 decades, with clear and coherent regional patterns. The aim of this study is to assess whether trends in flood discharges also occurred for larger return periods, accounting for the effect of catchment scale. We analyse 2370 flood discharge records, selected from a newly available pan-European flood database, with record length of at least 40 years over the period 1960-2010 and with contributing catchment area ranging from 5 to 100 000 km2. To estimate regional flood trends, we use a non-stationary regional flood frequency approach consisting of a regional Gumbel distribution, whose median and growth factor can vary in time with different strengths for different catchment sizes. A Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) approach is used for parameter estimation. We quantify regional trends (and the related sample uncertainties), for floods of selected return periods and for selected catchment areas, across Europe and for three regions where coherent flood trends have been identified in previous studies. Results show that in northwestern Europe the trends in flood magnitude are generally positive. In small catchments (up to 100 km2), the 100-year flood increases more than the median flood, while the opposite is observed in medium and large catchments, where even some negative trends appear, especially in northwestern France. In southern Europe flood trends are generally negative. The 100-year flood decreases less than the median flood, and, in the small catchments, the median flood decreases less compared to the large catchments. In eastern Europe the regional trends are negative and do not depend on the return period, but catchment area plays a substantial role: the larger the catchment, the more negative the trend.
Keywords: Floods
DOI: 10.5194/hess-24-1805-2020
Organisation: E222-02 - Forschungsbereich Ingenieurhydrologie 
License: CC BY 4.0 CC BY 4.0
Publication Type: Article
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