EXTREME 1500 - Extreme hydrological events in central Europe since 1500 - Processes and effects (already finished)

EXTREME 1500 - Extreme hydrological events in central Europe since 1500 - Processes and effects

Start date: 01.03.1999
End date: 30.09.2001
Funded by: DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft)
Local project leader: Prof. Dr. J. Jacobeit


This research project, supported by the DFG, and integrating the historical climate databank (HISKLID) compiled by Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Glaser at Würzburg, will proceed in tandem with a research group at the Postdam Institue for Climate Research and is directly linked to the Project 'Flood Frequency and Public Risk Management in Historical Perspective (FLOODRISK) undertaken by the research group at the Geographical and Historical Institute of the University of Bern, with the support of the Swiss National Science Foundation. In addition it includes co-operation with the Geographical Institute of the University of Brno, the Institute for Prehistoric Archaeology of the University of Halle and the Geographical Institute of the University of Erfurt.

The general objective of this joint project is, on the basis of documentary source material from central Europe, to investigate the frequency of flood-events and periods of drought in the last five hundred years, in order to reach a characterization of the climate and circulation dynamics of hydrologically differing periods and compile a database with regard to the social effects of such extreme weather events. The extensive period of time under investigation allows a proper classification of the most recent developments from the last few decades in the long-term hydrological and climatological spectrum of variability, and allows greater possibilities for judging the present and expected tendencies in the frequency of flood-events in central Europe.

In particular the interlinked project includes the following areas of investigation:
  • The construction of flood-series for central European catchment areas since 1500 for the indentification of periods of increased or reduced frequencies of flood events;
  • The reconstruction of gridded monthly and seasonal fields of air pressure, temperature and precipiation since 1500, based on early instrumental measures and various forms of climatic indices that have been derived from documentary source material;
  • Characterization of the weather conditions of the historical time periods of increased or reduced flood event frequency;
  • Analyses of the circulation dynamics of the 500 year long period under investigation in order to identify possible differences in the atmospheric circulation regime between periods of varying flood event frequency;
  • Preparatory compilation of data on the 'social impact' of extreme hydrological events.

STURM, K., R. GLASER, J. JACOBEIT, M. DEUTSCH, R. BRAZDIL, C. PFISTER, J. LUTERBACHER & H. WANNER (2001): Hochwasser in Mitteleuropa seit 1500 und ihre Beziehung zur atmosphärischen Zirkulation. - In: Petermanns Geographische Mitteilungen, 145, 2001/6, 14-23.