Flood History of Northern Alpine rivers (already finished)

Flood History of Northern Alpine rivers (Iller, Lech, Isar, Inn, Salzach) related to Climate History and Atmospheric Circulation

Start date: 01.11.2006
Duration: 3 years
Funded by: DFG – Projekt (We 1881/4-1)
Local project leader: Prof. Dr. K.-F. Wetzel Prof. Dr. J. Jacobeit


The flood history of the German Alpine foreland has not previously been examined in detail, even though reliable historical data up to the 13th century are available. Additionally continuous water-level records from 1826 up to the present are available for different river systems in Bavaria. The aim of the current project is to reconstruct the flood history of the Alpine foreland as well as the related atmospheric circulation patterns. By means of the written evidence it can be shown that most of the floods occurred during the summer, obviously caused by a “Zugstrasse Vb” pressure distribution associated with a meridional atmospheric circu­lation mode. This specific atmospheric circulation pattern is affecting large areas of Central Europe, in the north of the Alps as well as in the south. Therefore, the flood history of the Alpine foreland of Germany can be seen as a history of this far-reaching pressure configuration, leading to a better under­standing of the summer conditions in Central Europe.

  • Wetzel, K.-F. & O. Böhm (2005): Catastrophic flooding auf the Lech – a historical record since roman times. – Abstracts of the International Conference “The fluvial system – Past and present controls”, May 2005, p. 80, Bonn.
  • Böhm. O. & K.-F. Wetzel (2006): Flood history of the Danube tributaries Lech and Isar in the Alpine foreland of Germany. – In: Hydrological Sciences Journal 51, S. 784-798.