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Geo-historical analysis of flood impacts in Alpine catchments (HIFAVa database, Arve River, France, 1850–2015)

Abstract : In France, flooding is the most common and damaging natural hazard. Due to global warming, it is expected to globally exacerbate, and it could be even more pronounced in the European Alps that warm at a rate twice as high in the Northern Hemisphere. The Alps are densely populated, increasing exposure and vulnerability to flood hazard. To approach long-term evolutions of past flood occurrence and related socioeconomic impacts in relation to changes in the flood risk components (i.e. hazard, exposure and vulnerability), the study of historical records is highly relevant. To this aim we analyze the newly constituted database of Historical Impacts of Floods in the Arve Valley (HIFAVa) located in French Northern Alps and starting in 1850. This database reports for the first-time flood occurrences and impacts in a well-documented Alpine catchment that encompasses both a hydrological and societal diversity. We analyze past impacts in regard to their characteristics and evolution in both time and space. Our results show an increasing occurrence of impacts from 1920 onwards, which is more likely related to indirect source effect and/or increasing exposure of goods and people rather than hydrological changes. The analysis reveals that small mountain streams and particularly glacial streams caused more impacts (67%) than the main river. While increase in heavy rainfall and ice melt are expected to enhance flood hazard in small Alpine catchments, this finding calls to pay a particular attention to flood risk assessment and management in small catchments.
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Conference papers
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Contributor : Sandrine Anquetin <>
Submitted on : Thursday, July 29, 2021 - 1:09:01 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, July 31, 2021 - 3:51:37 AM


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Eva Boisson, Bruno Wilhelm, Emmanuel Garnier, Alain Mélo, Sandrine Anquetin, et al.. Geo-historical analysis of flood impacts in Alpine catchments (HIFAVa database, Arve River, France, 1850–2015). EGU (European Gesosciences Union), Apr 2021, Online, Austria. ⟨10.5194/nhess-2021-169⟩. ⟨hal-03306885⟩



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