Floods Working Group



The Floods Working Group (FWG) aims to bring together all the scientific communities reconstructing past floods (historians, geologists, geographers, etc.) and those studying current and future floods (hydrologists, modelers, statisticians, etc.) to coordinate, synthesize and promote data and results on the natural variability of floods.

Sign up to the Floods mailing list.


- Providing regional to global analyses of the natural flood variability with a particular focus on the most extreme events.
- Promoting and disseminating historical and paleoflood science data at different levels, i.e. academic, engineers and stakeholders.
- To reach these goals, the Working Group has been structured in three Work Packages.


Bruno Wilhelm (Université Grenoble Alps, France)
Juan Antonio Ballesteros Canovas (University of Geneva, Switzerland)

Workshop participants 2016

floods group photo wshop 2016


Oct 2015

2018 annual meeting update

The Floods Working Group held their annual meeting on 11 April during the EGU in Vienna, Austria.

Access the meeting minutes here. (pdf, 60KB)
Access the meeting presentation here. (pdf, 3.7MB)
Access the Work Packages presentation here. (pdf, 1.8MB)

Read the Floods Working Group White Paper here. (pdf, 390KB)



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.


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

Records of floods from lacustrine, fluvial and marine sediments, tree rings, speleothems, and historical documents, analyzed with state-of-the-art statistical tools, can provide a more comprehensive understanding of the variability of precipitation extremes and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).

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.

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.

Due to the high-resolution flood reconstructions that can be achieved using varved lake sediments the Floods Working Group is connected to the PAGES' endorsed group, the 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.

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.