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Journal Article


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

Wilhelm, B., Ballesteros Cánovas, J. A., Macdonald, N., Toonen, W. H., Baker, V., Barriendos, M., Benito, G., Brauer, A., Corella, J. P., Denniston, R., Glaser, R., Ionita, M., Kahle, M., Liu, T., Luetscher, M., Macklin, M., Mudelsee, M., Munoz, S., Schulte, L., St. George, S., Stoffel, M., Wetter, O. (2018 online): Interpreting historical, botanical, and geological evidence to aid preparations for future floods. - Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water.
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Wilhelm ,  Bruno

Ballesteros Cánovas ,  Juan Antonio

Macdonald ,  Neil

Toonen ,  Willem H.J.

Baker ,  Victor

Barriendos ,  Mariano

Benito ,  Gerardo

Brauer ,  A.
5.2 Climate Dynamics and Landscape Evolution, 5.0 Geoarchives, Departments, GFZ Publication Database, Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum;

Corella ,  Juan Pablo

Denniston ,  Rhawn

Glaser ,  Rüdiger

Ionita ,  Monica

Kahle ,  Michael

Liu ,  Tao

Luetscher ,  Marc

Macklin ,  Mark

Mudelsee ,  Manfred

Munoz ,  Samuel

Schulte ,  Lothar

St. George ,  Scott

Stoffel ,  Markus

Wetter ,  Oliver

River flooding is among the most destructive of natural hazards globally, causing widespread loss of life, damage to infrastructure and economic deprivation. Societies are currently under increasing threat from such floods, predominantly from increasing exposure of people and assets in flood‐prone areas, but also as a result of changes in flood magnitude, frequency, and timing. Accurate flood hazard and risk assessment are therefore crucial for the sustainable development of societies worldwide. With a paucity of hydrological measurements, evidence from the field offers the only insight into truly extreme events and their variability in space and time. Historical, botanical, and geological archives have increasingly been recognized as valuable sources of extreme flood event information. These different archives are here reviewed with a particular focus on the recording mechanisms of flood information, the historical development of the methodological approaches and the type of information that those archives can provide. These studies provide a wealthy dataset of hundreds of historical and palaeoflood series, whose analysis reveals a noticeable dominance of records in Europe. After describing the diversity of flood information provided by this dataset, we identify how these records have improved and could further improve flood hazard assessments and, thereby, flood management and mitigation plans.