Hochwasser-«Katastrophen» in Basel vom 13. bis 21. Jahrhundert Rekonstruktion, Deutung und Lerneffekte

Wetter, Oliver (2012). Hochwasser-«Katastrophen» in Basel vom 13. bis 21. Jahrhundert Rekonstruktion, Deutung und Lerneffekte. In: Krisen. Ursachen, Deutungen und Folgen. Schweizerisches Jahrbuch für Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte: Vol. 27 (pp. 47-64). Zürich: Chronos

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Magnitudes of peak discharges of 43 non-instrumentally measured Rhine river floods at Basel were reconstructed. The methodology is based on a range of different historic sources, containing flood information (including traditional urban inundation reference points from flood reports of medieval and early modern period chroniclers as well as 19th century journalists, flood marks, paintings and drawings, town maps, longitudinal and cross profiles etc.). These traditional pre-instrumental “flood information systems” still existed in the 19th century, when in 1808 the first instrumental hydrological measurements started. They thus could be calibrated with instrumental measurements in the 19th century overlapping period. The result is a 743 year long quantified Rhine river flood series. Floods of both periods (pre-instrumental as well as instrumental) can thus be directly compared for the very first time. The long-range consequences of rivers Kander and Aare deviations in 1714 and 1878 are reflected in a distinct change of magnitudes of peak discharges in Basel. A clear flood “disaster gap” appears in the 20th century. The lack of any extreme floods for such a long time is completely unique during the 743-year period of analysis. This result will influence the statistical assessment of once-in-a-century events, which might be of great interest for insurance campanies.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of History and Archaeology > Institute of History > Economic, Social and Environmental History
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)

UniBE Contributor:

Wetter, Oliver


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
900 History






Schweizerisches Jahrbuch für Wirtschafts- und Sozialgeschichte






Oliver Wetter

Date Deposited:

11 Mar 2015 11:45

Last Modified:

11 Mar 2015 11:45





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