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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2020

Flood-type trend analysis for alpine catchments

Sikorska-Senoner, Anna E.; Seibert, Jan


In many places, magnitudes and frequencies of floods are expected to increase due to climate change. To understand these changes better, trend analyses of historical data are helpful. However, traditional trend analyses do not address issues related to shifts in the relative contributions of rainfall versus snowmelt floods, or in the frequency of a particular flood type. We present a novel approach for quantifying such trends in time series of floods using a fuzzy decision tree for event classification and applied it to maximal annual and seasonal floods in 27 alpine catchments for the period 1980-2014. Trends in flood types were studied with Sen's slope and double mass curves. Our results reveal a decreasing number of rain-on-snow and an increasing number of short rainfall events in all catchments, with flash floods increasing in smaller catchments. Overall, the results demonstrate the value of incorporating a fuzzy flood-type classification into flood trend analyses.


Flood type; flood trends; decision tree; fuzzy approach; flood contribution; change indicating area

Published in

Hydrological Sciences Journal
2020, Volume: 65, number: 8, pages: 1281-1299

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources

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