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Interpreting historical, botanical, and geological evidence to aid preparations for future floods

Authors
Wilhelm, Bruno
Macdonald, Neil
Toonen, Willem H.J.
Baker, Victor
Barriendos, Mariano
Benito, Gerardo
Brauer, Achim
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Published in Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water. 2018, vol. 6, no. 1, p. e1318
Abstract River flooding is among the most destructive of natural hazards globally, causingwidespread loss of life, damage to infrastructure and economic deprivation. Socie-ties are currently under increasing threat from such floods, predominantly fromincreasing exposure of people and assets in flood-prone areas, but also as a resultof changes in flood magnitude, frequency, and timing. Accurate flood hazard andrisk assessment are therefore crucial for the sustainable development of societiesworldwide. With a paucity of hydrological measurements, evidence from the field offers the only insight into truly extreme events and their variability in space andtime. Historical, botanical, and geological archives have increasingly been recog-nized as valuable sources of extreme flood event information. These differentarchives are here reviewed with a particular focus on the recording mechanisms offlood information, the historical development of the methodological approachesand the type of information that those archives can provide. These studies providea wealthy dataset of hundreds of historical and palaeoflood series, whose analysisreveals a noticeable dominance of records in Europe. After describing the diversityof flood information provided by this dataset, we identify how these records haveimproved and could further improve flood hazard assessments and, thereby, floodmanagement and mitigation plans.
Keywords Flood hazardHistorical archiveNatural archivePalaeoflood evidence
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WILHELM, Bruno et al. Interpreting historical, botanical, and geological evidence to aid preparations for future floods. In: Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water, 2018, vol. 6, n° 1, p. e1318. doi: 10.1002/wat2.1318 https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:122419

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Deposited on : 2019-09-02

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