Floods Working Group

Floods timelineFloodswithtitle

 Oct 2015    2016    2017   2018



Example of a destructive flood triggered by heavy precipitation, August 22-23, 2005, Sainte-Agnès, France. (Credit: D. Thillet)

Floods are among the most destructive natural hazards causing widespread loss of life, damage to infrastructure and economic deprivation. Robust knowledge about their future trends is therefore crucial for the sustainable development of societies worldwide.

Ongoing climate warming is expected to lead to an intensification of the hydrological cycle and to a modification of the frequency and magnitude of hydro-meteorological extreme events. However, climate projections of the occurrence of precipitation extremes are still highly uncertain because of the complexity in precipitation pattern variations at a regional scale and a limited temporal and spatial coverage of instrumental data capturing precipitation extremes and floods.

Records of floods from lacustrine, fluvial and marine sediments, tree rings, speleothems, and historical documents, analyzed with state-of-the-art statistical tools, can provide a more comprehensive understanding of the variability of precipitation extremes and substantially improve the reliability of future flood-risk predictions. All of these data can significantly improve our understanding of the physical processes controlling the occurrence and magnitude of floods under varying past, present and near future climate states (Fig. 1).

Fig FWG website2

Figure 1: Schematic illustration of the concept and goals of the Floods Working Group. Data on past floods will be collected from a variety of archive types, integrated into a database, statistically analyzed, and climatically modeled and interpreted.

Bringing together researchers from the growing community of geologists, geographers, historians, modelers, statisticians, and hydrologists investigating past flood events worldwide is timely in order to coordinate and synthesize results on the natural variability of floods. The Floods Working Group aims to provide an ideal platform to promote collaboration among the different research communities and foster scientific progress.

Due to the high-resolution flood reconstructions that can be achieved using varved lake sediments the Floods Working Group is connected to PAGES' Varves Working Group. In addition, strong links with PAGES' 2k Network are also expected, as the density of available flood data is high for the past 2,000 years.

Metadata collection

Floods Working Group (FWG) would like to get a worldwide overview of the existing (published) flood records based on historical or natural archives.

This metadata collection will serve:
- to promote all these records to a broad community (through the FWG web site and at the PAGES OSM - Zaragoza, 9-13 May 2017);
- as a first step for the database project of the FWG; and
- as a basis for a review paper on flood reconstructions.

To promote your record(s), please take a few minutes to provide very basic metadata on flood records you produced using this excel file.

Details on the different entries of the excel sheet are described here (pdf).

Examples are also given in the excel spreadsheet.

Once filled in, please send the excel file to Bruno Wilhelm: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Please feel free to transfer this request to any colleagues who might be interested.

Learn more and participate

Subscribe to the Floods Working Group mailing list here.

This group is open to anyone who is interested. To participate, please contact one of the leaders.