Review of trend analysis and climate change projections of extreme precipitation and floods in Europe

Henrik Madsen, Deborah Lawrence, Michel Lang, Marta Martinkova, Thomas Kjeldsen

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236 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

This paper presents a review of trend analysis of extreme precipitation and hydrological floods in Europe based on observations and future climate projections. The review summaries methods and methodologies applied and key findings from a large number of studies. Reported analyses of observed extreme precipitation and flood records show that there is some evidence of a general increase in extreme precipitation, whereas there are no clear indications of significant trends at large-scale regional or national level of extreme streamflow. Several studies from regions dominated by snowmelt-induced peak flows report decreases in extreme streamflow and earlier spring snowmelt peak flows, likely caused by increasing temperature. The review of likely future changes based on climate projections indicates a general increase in extreme precipitation under a future climate, which is consistent with the observed trends. Hydrological projections of peak flows show large impacts in many areas with both positive and negative changes. A general decrease in flood magnitude and earlier spring floods are projected for catchments with snowmelt-dominated peak flows, which is consistent with the observed trends. Finally, existing guidelines in Europe on design flood and design rainfall estimation are reviewed. The review shows that only few countries have developed guidelines that incorporate a consideration of climate change impacts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3634-3650
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Volume519
Issue numberD
Early online date11 Nov 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Nov 2014

Keywords

  • flood
  • climate change
  • hydrology
  • Europe

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