Changing climate shifts timing of European floods

Bloeschl G., Hall J., Parajka J., Perdigao R. A. P., Merz B., Arheimer B., ...More

SCIENCE, vol.357, no.6351, pp.588-590, 2017 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 357 Issue: 6351
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.1126/science.aan2506
  • Journal Name: SCIENCE
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.588-590
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes


A warming climate is expected to have an impact on the magnitude and timing of river floods; however, no consistent large-scale climate change signal in observed flood magnitudes has been identified so far. We analyzed the timing of river floods in Europe over the past five decades, using a pan-European database from 4262 observational hydrometric stations, and found clear patterns of change in flood timing. Warmer temperatures have led to earlier spring snowmelt floods throughout northeastern Europe; delayed winter storms associated with polar warming have led to later winter floods around the North Sea and some sectors of the Mediterranean coast; and earlier soil moisture maxima have led to earlier winter floods in western Europe. Our results highlight the existence of a clear climate signal in flood observations at the continental scale.