Identification of coherent flood regions across Europe by using the longest streamflow records

Luis Mediero, Thomas Kjeldsen, Neil Macdonald, Silvia Kohnova, Bruno Merz, Sergiy Vorogushyn, Donna Wilson, Teresa Alburquerque, Gunter Bloschl, Ewa Bogdanowicz , Attilio Castellarin, Julia Hall, Mira Kobold, Jurate Kriauciuniene, Michel Lang, Henrik Madsen, Gulay Onusluel Gul, R. A. P. Perdigão, Lars Andreas Roald, Jose Luis SalinasAntonis Toumazis , Noora Veijalainen , Óðinn Þórarinsson

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This study compiles a new dataset, consisting of the longest available flow series from across Europe, and uses it to study the spatial and temporal clustering of flood events across the continent. Hydrological series at 102 gauging stations were collected from 25 European countries. Five geographically distinct large-scale homogeneous regions are identified: (i) an Atlantic region, (ii) a Continental region, (iii) a Scandinavian region, (iv) an Alpine region, and (v) a Mediterranean region. The months with a higher likelihood of flooding were identified in
each region. The analysis of the clustering of annual counts of floods revealed an over-dispersion in the Atlantic and Continental regions, forming flood-rich and flood-poor periods, as well as an under-dispersion in the Scandinavian region that points to a regular pattern of flood occurrences at the inter-annual scale. The detection of trends in flood series is attempted by basing it on the identified regions, interpreting the results at a regional scale and for various time periods: 1900-1999; 1920-1999; 1939-1998 and 1956-1995. The results indicate that a decreasing trend in the magnitude of floods was observed mainly in the Continental region in the period 1920-1999 with 22% of the catchments revealing such a trend, as well as a decreasing trend in the timing of floods in the Alpine region in the period 1900-1999 with 75% of the catchments revealing this trend. A mixed pattern of changes in the frequency of floods over a threshold and few significant changes in the timing of floods were detected.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)341-360
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Early online date14 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2015


  • flood
  • Hydrology


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