Articles | Volume 15, issue 4
Clim. Past, 15, 1395–1409, 2019
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-15-1395-2019
Clim. Past, 15, 1395–1409, 2019
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-15-1395-2019

Research article 30 Jul 2019

Research article | 30 Jul 2019

Causes of increased flood frequency in central Europe in the 19th century

Stefan Brönnimann et al.

Data sets

Ensemble Kalman Fitting Paleo-Reanalysis Version 1 (EKF400_v1), World Data Center for Climate (WDCC) at DKRZ, J. Franke, S. Brönnimann, J. Bhend, and Y. Brugnara https://doi.org/10.1594/WDCC/EKF400_v1

NOAA/CIRES Twentieth Century Global Reanalysis Version 2, Research Data Archive at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Computational and Information Systems Laboratory G. P. Compo, J. S. Whitaker, P. D. Sardeshmukh, N. Matsui, R. J. Allan, X. Yin, B. E. Gleason, R. S. Vose, G. Rutledge, P. Bessemoulin, S. Brönnimann, M. Brunet, R. I. Crouthamel, A. N. Grant, P. Y. Groisman, P. D. Jones, M. C. Kruk, A. C. Kruger, G. J. Marshall, M. Maugeri, H. Y. Mok, O. Nordli, T. F. Ross, R. M. Trigo, X. L. Wang, S. D. Woodruff, and S. J. Worley https://doi.org/10.5065/D6N877TW

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Short summary
During the 19th century flood frequency was high in central Europe, but it was low in the mid-20th century. This paper tracks these decadal changes in flood frequency for the case of Switzerland from peak discharge data back to precipitation data and daily weather reconstructions. We find an increased frequency in flood-prone weather types during large parts of the 19th century and decreased frequency in the mid-20th century. Sea-surface temperature anomalies can only explain a small part of it.