journal article

Compound flood events: analysing the joint occurrence of extreme river discharge events and storm surges in northern and central Europe


The simultaneous occurrence of extreme events gained more and more attention from scientific research in the last couple of years. Compared to the occurrence of single extreme events, co-occurring or compound extremes may substantially increase risks. To adequately address such risks, improving our understanding of compound flood events in Europe is necessary and requires reliable estimates of their probability of occurrence together with potential future changes. In this study compound flood events in northern and central Europe were studied using a Monte Carlo-based approach that avoids the use of copulas. Second, we investigate if the number of observed compound extreme events is within the expected range of 2 standard deviations of randomly occurring compound events. This includes variations of several parameters to test the stability of the identified patterns. Finally, we analyse if the observed compound extreme events had a common large-scale meteorological driver. The results of our investigation show that rivers along the west-facing coasts of Europe experienced a higher amount of compound flood events than expected by pure chance. In these regions, the vast majority of the observed compound flood events seem to be related to the cyclonic westerly general weather pattern (GroƟwetterlage).
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