Flood data from 500 years: Rivers and climate change in Europe

A major international research project led by the Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien) shows for the first time that flooding characteristics in recent decades are unlike those of previous centuries
Overflowing rivers can cause enormous problems: Worldwide, the annual damage caused by river floods is estimated at over 100 billion dollars - and it continues to rise. To date it has been unclear whether Europe is currently in a flood-rich period from a long-term perspective.
Austrian flood expert Prof. Günter Blöschl from TU Wien (Vienna) has led a large international study involving a total of 34 research groups that provides clear evidence that the past three decades were among the most flood-rich periods in Europe during the past 500 years, and that this period differs from others in terms of its extent, air temperatures and flood seasonality. Compared to the past, floods tend to be larger in many places, the timing has shifted and the relationship between flood occurrence and air temperatures has reversed. In the past, floods tended to occur more frequently in cold phases while, today, global warming is one of the main drivers for their increase. The results of the study have now been published in "Nature" magazine.
BLÖSCHL, Günter et al. - «Current European flood-rich period exceptional compared with past 500 years». In Nature, 583, 2020, pp. 560-566. DOI:


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