Articles | Volume 21, issue 7
Research article
21 Jul 2017
Research article |  | 21 Jul 2017

Evaluation of extensive floods in western/central Europe

Blanka Gvoždíková and Miloslav Müller

Abstract. This paper addresses the identification and evaluation of extreme flood events in the transitional area between western and central Europe in the period 1951–2013. Floods are evaluated in terms of three variants on an extremity index that combines discharge values with the spatial extent of flooding. The indices differ in the threshold of the considered maximum discharges; the flood extent is expressed by a length of affected river network. This study demonstrates that using the index with a higher flood discharge limit changes the floods' rankings significantly. It also highlights the high severity events.

In general, we detected an increase in the proportion of warm half-year floods when using a higher discharge limit. Nevertheless, cold half-year floods still predominate in the lists because they generally affect large areas. This study demonstrates the increasing representation of warm half-year floods from the northwest to the southeast.

Short summary
This paper addresses the evaluation of extreme floods in western/central Europe in terms of different index variants. The comparison of extreme floods' rankings is presented, as well as the main characteristics of temporal and spatial distributions of flood extremes. The results will be used for the assessment of related meteorological conditions. A comparison of major floods with precipitation and circulation extremes will be useful for a better understanding of the causes of extensive floods.