Extreme River Floods in Western Switzerland and the Lake of Constance Region in the Period Prior to Instrumental Measurements

Tuttenuj, Daniel Uwe (26 August 2015). Extreme River Floods in Western Switzerland and the Lake of Constance Region in the Period Prior to Instrumental Measurements (Unpublished). In: 14th Swiss Climate Summer School - "Extreme Events and Climate". Ascona, Switzerland. 23.-28.08.2015.

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The floods that occurred on the Aare and Rhine rivers in May 2015 and the mostly successful handling of this event in terms of flood protection measures are a good reminder of how important it is to comprehend the causes and processes involved in such natural hazards. While the needed data series of gauge measurements and peak discharge calculations reach back to the 19th century, historical records dating further back in time can provide additional and useful information to help understanding extreme flood events and to evaluate prevention measures such as river dams and corrections undertaken prior to instrumental measurements. In my PhD project I will use a wide range of historical sources to assess and quantify past extreme flood events. It is part of the SNF-funded project “Reconstruction of the Genesis, Process and Impact of Major Pre-instrumental Flood Events of Major Swiss Rivers Including a Peak Discharge Quantification” and will cover the research locations Fribourg (Saane R.), Burgdorf (Emme R.), Thun, Bern (both Aare R.), and the Lake of Constance at the locations Lindau, Constance and Rorschach. My main goals are to provide a long time series of quantitative data for extreme flood events, to discuss the occurring changes in these data, and to evaluate the impact of the aforementioned human influences on the drainage system. Extracting information given in account books from the towns of Basel and Solothurn may also enable me to assess the frequency and seasonality of less severe river floods. Finally, historical information will be used for remodeling the historical hydrological regime to homogenize the historical data series to modern day conditions and thus make it comparable to the data provided by instrumental measurements. The method I will apply for processing all information provided by historical sources such as chronicles, newspapers, institutional records, as well as flood marks, paintings and archeological evidence has been developed and successfully applied to the site of Basel by Wetter et al. (2011). They have also shown that data homogenization is possible by reconstructing previous stream flow conditions using historical river profiles and by carefully observing and re-constructing human changes of the river bed and its surroundings. Taken all information into account, peak discharges for past extreme flood events will be calculated with a one-dimensional hydrological model.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)

Division/Institute:

06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of History and Archaeology > Institute of History
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of History and Archaeology > Institute of History > Economic, Social and Environmental History

Graduate School:

Graduate School of Climate Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Tuttenuj, Daniel Uwe

Subjects:

500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology
900 History

Funders:

[31] Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
[4] Swiss National Science Foundation

Language:

English

Submitter:

Daniel Uwe Tuttenuj

Date Deposited:

26 Apr 2016 10:52

Last Modified:

15 Sep 2017 09:43

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.78991

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/78991

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