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

Chiverrell, R.C. and Sear, D.A. and Warburton, J. and Macdonald, N. and Schillereff, D.N. and Dearing, J.A. and Croudace, I.W. and 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. .


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.

Item Type:Article
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First Live Deposit - 08 July 2019
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution.
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Publisher statement:© 2019 The Authors. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Record Created:08 Jul 2019 11:58
Last Modified:08 Jul 2019 12:30

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