Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2023-206
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2023-206
08 Jan 2024
 | 08 Jan 2024
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal NHESS.

Floods in the Pyrenees: A global view through a regional database

María Carmen Llasat, Montserrat Llasat-Botija, Erika Pardo, Raül Marcos-Matamoros, and Marc Lemus-Canovas

Abstract. This paper shows the results of the analysis on the first systematic dataset of flood episodes referred to the entire Pyrenees massif, named PIRAGUA_flood, which covers the period 1981–2015 (available at http://hdl.handle.net/10261/270351). First, the structure of the database is detailed, so that it can be reproduced anywhere else in the world adapting to the specific nature of each situation. Subsequently, the paper addresses the spatial and temporal distribution of flood episodes and events (including trends) that affected the Pyrenees regions of Spain (Catalonia, Aragon, Navarre, the Basque Country), France (Nouvelle Aquitaine, Occitanie) and Andorra, as well as the massif as a whole, for a given period of time. In the case of the Spanish regions, it was also possible to analyse the compensation paid out made by the Spanish Insurance Compensation Consortium, and the number of deceased. The weather types associated with flood episodes were also classified based on sea level pressure and 500 hPa geopotential height from ERA5. The results show 181 flood events and 154 fatalities, some of which affected more than one region. In the Spanish part of the Pyrenees, between 1996 and 2015, there were a total compensation payout amounting to € 142.5 million2015. The eastern part of the area records more flood events than the western one, being Catalonia the community that registered the highest number of events, followed by Andorra and Occitanie. Associated weather types are dominated by southern component flow over the Pyrenees region, with a thalweg on the Iberian Peninsula and a depression in the vicinity, either in the Atlantic or in the Mediterranean. In terms of the entire massif, there is a slight positive trend of 0.84 events/decade, driven by the evolution of ordinary and extraordinary floods, but not significant at 95 %. At a regional level, flood behaviour is more heterogeneous, although not significant for the most part. Nouvelle Aquitanie is the only region that shows a positive and significant trend of 0.34 events/decade. 

María Carmen Llasat, Montserrat Llasat-Botija, Erika Pardo, Raül Marcos-Matamoros, and Marc Lemus-Canovas

Status: final response (author comments only)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on nhess-2023-206', Anonymous Referee #1, 24 Jan 2024
  • RC2: 'Comment on nhess-2023-206', Anonymous Referee #2, 15 Feb 2024
María Carmen Llasat, Montserrat Llasat-Botija, Erika Pardo, Raül Marcos-Matamoros, and Marc Lemus-Canovas
María Carmen Llasat, Montserrat Llasat-Botija, Erika Pardo, Raül Marcos-Matamoros, and Marc Lemus-Canovas

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Short summary
Climate change is leading in the Pyrenees Massif to a change in socioeconomic increasing their sensitivity to natural risks such as floods. However, until now, no systematic study like this one had been carried out that would allow evaluating the frequency, distribution and main meteorological features of these events on a massif scale. In 35 years there have been 181 flood events that have produced 154 fatalities.
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