IWA Publishing

Middle Holocene palaeoflood extremes of the Lower Rhine


A Chézy-based hydraulic model was run to estimate the magnitude of extreme floods of Middle Holocene age in the Lower Rhine Valley (Germany). Input parameters were gathered from the field and literature, and used in ten scenarios to calculate a best guess estimate for the minimum size of extreme floods. These events have been registered as slackwater deposits on elevated terrace levels and in a palaeochannel fill. The modelled minimum discharge is 13,250 m3 sec−1 for a Middle Holocene flood with an estimated recurrence interval between 1,250 and 2,500 years. A sensitivity analysis on different input parameters enables evaluation of factors which cause the relatively large range in modelled discharges. Understanding the origin of uncertainties in modelled discharges is important for making geologically based calculations of palaeoflood magnitudes important in modern flood frequency analyses, which generally lack information on the magnitudes of rare events.

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