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Using lake sediment archives to improve understanding of flood magnitude and frequency: recent extreme flooding in northwest UK

Using lake sediment archives to improve understanding of flood magnitude and frequency: recent extreme flooding in northwest UK
Using lake sediment archives to improve understanding of flood magnitude and frequency: recent extreme flooding in northwest UK
We present the first quantitative reconstruction of palaeofloods using lake sediments for the UK and show that for a large catchment in NW England the cluster of devastating floods from 1990 to present is without precedent in this 558‐year palaeo‐record. Our approach augments conventional flood magnitude and frequency (FMF) analyses with continuous lake sedimentary data to provide a longer‐term perspective on flood magnitude recurrence probabilities. The 2009 flood, the largest in >558 years, had a recurrence interval larger (1:2,200 year) than revealed by conventional flood estimation using shorter duration gauged single station records (1:1,700 year). Flood‐rich periods are non‐stationary in their correlation with climate indices, but the 1990‐2018 cluster is associated with warmer Northern Hemisphere Temperatures and positive Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. Monitored records rarely capture the largest floods and our palaeoflood series shows, for this catchment, such omissions undermine evaluations of future risk. Our approach provides an exemplar of how to derive centennial palaeoflood reconstructions from lakes coupled well with their catchments around the world.
0197-9337
2366-2376
Chiverrell, R.C.
956c80f7-dc30-4208-b15f-98f04330a49b
Sear, D.A.
ccd892ab-a93d-4073-a11c-b8bca42ecfd3
Warburton, J.
908c4afe-aecc-4061-964f-fe1c14070809
Macdonald, N.
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Schillereff, D.N.
6c919084-6869-4735-85ad-2c2dbc5f07a6
Dearing, J.A.
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Croudace, I.W.
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Brown, J.
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Bradley, J.
7abc0060-2a06-425b-824b-1612430e7049
Chiverrell, R.C.
956c80f7-dc30-4208-b15f-98f04330a49b
Sear, D.A.
ccd892ab-a93d-4073-a11c-b8bca42ecfd3
Warburton, J.
908c4afe-aecc-4061-964f-fe1c14070809
Macdonald, N.
56fc19d1-88f0-44dc-90ae-c5d670b90da4
Schillereff, D.N.
6c919084-6869-4735-85ad-2c2dbc5f07a6
Dearing, J.A.
dff37300-b8a6-4406-ad84-89aa01de03d7
Croudace, I.W.
24deb068-d096-485e-8a23-a32b7a68afaf
Brown, J.
64c8be68-e3cb-49ff-b5b0-525db5f4bcd0
Bradley, J.
7abc0060-2a06-425b-824b-1612430e7049

Chiverrell, R.C., Sear, D.A., Warburton, J., Macdonald, N., Schillereff, D.N., Dearing, J.A., Croudace, I.W., Brown, J. and Bradley, J. (2019) Using lake sediment archives to improve understanding of flood magnitude and frequency: recent extreme flooding in northwest UK. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 44 (12), 2366-2376. (doi:10.1002/esp.4650).

Record type: Article

Abstract

We present the first quantitative reconstruction of palaeofloods using lake sediments for the UK and show that for a large catchment in NW England the cluster of devastating floods from 1990 to present is without precedent in this 558‐year palaeo‐record. Our approach augments conventional flood magnitude and frequency (FMF) analyses with continuous lake sedimentary data to provide a longer‐term perspective on flood magnitude recurrence probabilities. The 2009 flood, the largest in >558 years, had a recurrence interval larger (1:2,200 year) than revealed by conventional flood estimation using shorter duration gauged single station records (1:1,700 year). Flood‐rich periods are non‐stationary in their correlation with climate indices, but the 1990‐2018 cluster is associated with warmer Northern Hemisphere Temperatures and positive Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation. Monitored records rarely capture the largest floods and our palaeoflood series shows, for this catchment, such omissions undermine evaluations of future risk. Our approach provides an exemplar of how to derive centennial palaeoflood reconstructions from lakes coupled well with their catchments around the world.

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Chiverrell et al 2019 Earth Surface Processes and Landforms - Accepted Manuscript
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esp.4650 - Version of Record
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 9 May 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 17 May 2019
Published date: 30 September 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 431244
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/431244
ISSN: 0197-9337
PURE UUID: 3231f85b-11d5-4006-bbb8-8f153a8f522c
ORCID for D.A. Sear: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-0191-6179
ORCID for J.A. Dearing: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1466-9640

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 28 May 2019 16:30
Last modified: 26 Nov 2021 02:48

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Contributors

Author: R.C. Chiverrell
Author: D.A. Sear ORCID iD
Author: J. Warburton
Author: N. Macdonald
Author: D.N. Schillereff
Author: J.A. Dearing ORCID iD
Author: I.W. Croudace
Author: J. Brown
Author: J. Bradley

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