Department für Geographie





26.08.2021  Ludwig, R.
New publication on "An extremeness threshold determines the regional response of floods to changes in rainfall extremes"

Liebe Interessierte,
heute ist ein neuer Artikel der AG Umweltmodellierung in der Nature-Zeitschrift Communications Earth and Environmental Sciences (CEE) erschienen:

Brunner, M.I., Swain, L. Wood, R.R., Willkofer, F., Done, J.M., Gilleland, E. and R. Ludwig, 2021: An extremeness threshold determines the regional response of floods to changes in rainfall extremes.
Communications Earth & Environment, Vol. 2, 173

Das Autorenteam umfasst Wissenschaftler:innen folgender Einrichtungen:
1) National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO, USA
2) Institute of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany
3) Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA
4) The Nature Conservancy of California, San Francisco, CA, USA
5) Department of Geography, Ludwig–Maximilians University Munich, Munich, Germany

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Precipitation extremes will increase in a warming climate, but the response of flood magnitudes to heavier precipitation events is less clear. Historically, there is little evidence for systematic increases in flood magnitude despite observed increases in precipitation extremes. Here we investigate how flood magnitudes change in response to warming, using a large initial-condition ensemble of simulations with a single climate model, coupled to a hydrological model. The model chain was applied to historical (1961–2000) and warmer future (2060–2099) climate conditions for 78 watersheds in hydrological Bavaria, a region comprising the headwater catchments of the Inn, Danube and Main River, thus representing an area of expressed hydrological heterogeneity. For the majority of the catchments, we identify a ‘return interval threshold’ in the relationship between precipitation and flood increases: at return intervals above this threshold, further increases in extreme precipitation frequency and magnitude clearly yield increased flood magnitudes; below the threshold, flood magnitude is modulated by land surface processes. We suggest that this threshold behaviour can reconcile climatological and hydrological perspectives on changing flood risk in a warming climate.

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