Auch in Spanien treten die Flüsse ab und an über die Ufer. Neue Studien haben die Hochwasserereignisse feinsäuberlich rekonstruiert. Wer bei der nächsten Überflutung reflexhaft den Klimawandel als Ursache bemüht, sollte sich zunächst mit der Klimageschichte beschäftigen und sich die Frage stellen: Ist dieses aktuelle Hochwasserereignis wirklich so grundlegend verschieden von den früheren?
Beginnen wollen wir im Nordwesten der Iberischen Halbinsel. Dort rekonstruierten Margarita Jambrina-Enríquez und Kollegen anhand von Ablagerungen im Sanabria See die Hochwassergeschichte der letzten 26.000 Jahre. Die Studie erschien im Juni 2014 in den Quaternary Science Reviews. Interessant ist u.a. die Entwicklung der letzten 10.000 Jahre. Besonders starke Hochwässer ereigneten sich im sogenannten Millenniumstakt, parallel zu Kälteereignissen im Nordatlantik, die deren Erstbeschreiber Gerard Bond mit solaren Aktivitätsschwankungen synchronisieren konnte. Letztendlich scheint die Sonne und Veränderungen ihrer Aktivität das Hochwasser in Spanien mitzugestalten. Hier der Abstract:
Timing of deglaciation and postglacial environmental dynamics in NW Iberia: the Sanabria Lake record
The multiproxy study (sedimentology, geochemistry and diatoms) of sediment cores from Sanabria Lake (42°07′30″ N, 06°43′00″ W, 1000 m a.s.l.) together with a robust 14C chronology provides the first high-resolution and continuous sedimentary record in the region, extending back the last 26 ka. The development of a proglacial lake before 26 cal ka BP demonstrates the onset of deglaciation before the global Last Glacial Maximum, similarly to other alpine glaciers in southern European mountains. Rapid deglaciation occurred at the beginning of the Greenland Interstadial GI-1e (Bølling, 14.6 cal ka BP). Following a short-lived episode of glacier re-advance (14.4–14.2 cal ka BP, GI-1d), a climatic improvement at 13.9 cal ka BP suggests the glaciers retreated from the lake basin during the GI-1c. Another glacier reactivation phase occurred between ca 13.0–12.4 ka, starting earlier than the onset of GS-1 (Younger Dryas). Rapid deglaciation during the Early Holocene (11.7–10.1 cal ka BP) was followed by a period of higher river discharge (10.1–8.2 cal ka BP). After 8.2 ka, the Holocene is characterized by a general decreasing trend in humidity, punctuated by the driest phase during the Mid Holocene (ca 6.8–4.8), a wetter interval between 4.8 and 3.3 cal ka BP, and a relatively decline of rainfall since then till present, with a minor increase in humidity during some phases (ca 1670–1760) of the Little Ice Age.
Discrete silt layers intercalated in the organic-rich Holocene deposits reflect large flooding events of the Tera River (ca 10.1, 8.4, 7.5, 6.2, 5.7–5.6, 4.6, 4.2, 3.7, 3.3, 3.1, 2.7, 2.5 and 2.0 cal ka BP). Their synchronicity with a number of cold and humid events described in the Atlantic demonstrates a strong control of NW Iberian climate by North Atlantic dynamics at centennial–millennial scale. Comparison with Western Mediterranean records points to similar regional dynamics during the Holocene, although modulated in the NW Iberian Peninsula by the stronger Atlantic influence.
Die nächste Hochwasserrekonstruktion stammt von Saúl González-Lemos und Kollegen und wurde im November 2015 in den Quaternary Science Reviews publiziert. Studienobjekt war eine Höhle in Nordspanien. Sie dokumentierten einen ständigen Wechsel von hochwasserreichen und -armen Phasen. Die natürliche Klimavariabilität am Werk! Abstract:
Holocene flood frequency reconstruction from speleothems in northern Spain
Extreme precipitation events may cause flooding in the subsurface as well as surficial drainage networks, and these flood events may be preserved in the speleothem archive. We describe here a study of stalagmites from the Cueva Rosa, a system with a perennial cave stream in a lower active level and abundant speleothems in a fossil gallery 6–8 m above the active level. Several constrictions in the lower level act as bottlenecks at discharges of 8–11 m3/s during high discharge events, flooding both lower and upper galleries. Because the cave stream is the only efflux for the small surface watershed (1 km2), it is possible to estimate the critical rainfall intensity rates and runoff required to flood the upper gallery. In the upper gallery, historical flooding is constrained by 14C dates of wood fragments which register both a both post-bomb event and event at 420 yr BP. The latter event appears to coincide with deposition of thick mud deposit postdated by speleothem growth since 324 yr BP. A mid-Holocene (8.1–5.3 ka BP) speleothem from the upper gallery contains 26 detrital layers composed of clays and quartz grains evident in sectioned stalagmites and in Al content in LA-ICPMS analyses. The 9 most pronounced layers reach a thickness of 0.1–0.3 mm in the central growth axis. Petrography confirms that calcite crystal growth is continuous through these detrital layers and that they represent decantation events rather than hiatus in calcite deposition. In the mid-Holocene, large events have average recurrence of around 300 years, although large events are absent from the period from 7.3 to 6.3 ka and more frequent in the older and younger portions of the stalagmite. In the last four centuries, two major events have partially buried an actively growing stalagmite, showing that extreme precipitation events capable of flooding the upper gallery remain a persistent feature of the climate.
Jetzt in den Nordosten der Iberischen Halbinsel, von wo Corella et al. 2014 (Quaternary Science Reviews) eine wechselhafte Geschichte der Extremregenfälle präsentierte. Besonders schlimm waren die Überschwemmungen in der jeweils zweiten Hälfte des 14. und 19. Jahrhunderts. Interessanterweise ereigneten sich die Veränderungen im Takt der Sonnenaktivität. Im 20. Jahrhundert nahm die Häufigkeit der Extremregenfälle dramatisch ab. Während keiner anderen Phase der letzten 650 Jahre gab es weniger Extremregen als heute.
Annually-resolved lake record of extreme hydro-meteorological events since AD 1347 in NE Iberian Peninsula
We present an annual reconstruction of extreme rainfall events interpreted from detrital layers and turbidites interbedded within a varved sediment record since the 14th century in Montcortés Lake (NE Spain, 1027 m a.s.l.). Clastic microfacies intercalated within the biochemical calcite varves were characterized and their depositional dynamics interpreted using high-resolution geochemical and sedimentological analyses. Annual number of detrital layers was compared against instrumental records of extreme daily rainfalls providing minimum rainfall thresholds and return periods associated to the identified types of clastic microfacies. Non-continuous detrital layers were deposited during rainfall events higher than 80 mm (>2-year return period) while graded detrital layers and turbidites were associated with higher magnitude rainfall events (>90 mm and >4-year return period). The frequency distribution of extreme hydro-meteorological events is not stationary and its pattern coincides with historical floods from the nearby Segre River. High frequency of heavy rainfalls occurred during the periods AD 1347–1400 and AD 1844–1894. A lower frequency of heavy rainfall was found during the periods AD 1441–1508, 1547–1592, 1656–1712, 1765–1822 and 1917–2012. The 20th century stands out as the longest interval within the studied period of very low number of extreme rainfall events. Variability in extreme rainfall events prior to the 20th century is in phase with solar activity, suggesting a mechanistic link in mid-latitude atmospheric circulation patterns that ceased during the 20th century.
Abschließend noch eine Studie aus dem Nordosten Spaniens, Barrera-Escoda and Llasat (2015) im Fachblatt Hydrology and Earth System Sciences. Auch sie studierten die letzten 700 Jahre, und auch sie fanden wieder einen solaren Fingerabruck in der historischen Hochwasserentwicklung, u.a. den Gliessbergzyklus. Eine Zunahme der Flutschäden während der letzten 150 Jahre geht laut Autoren auf die stärkere Besiedelung der Flussmündungen zurück. Abstract:
Evolving flood patterns in a Mediterranean region (1301-2012) and climatic factors – the case of Catalonia
Data on flood occurrence and flood impacts for the last seven centuries in the northeastern Iberian Peninsula have been analysed in order to characterise long-term trends, anomalous periods and their relationship with different climatic factors such as precipitation, general circulation and solar activity. Catastrophic floods (those that produce complete or partial destruction of infrastructure close to the river, and major damages in the overflowed area, including some zones away from the channels) do not present a statistically significant trend, whereas extraordinary floods (the channel is overflowed and some punctual severe damages can be produced in the infrastructures placed in the rivercourse or near it, but usually damages are slight) have seen a significant rise, especially from 1850 on, and were responsible for the total increase in flooding in the region. This rise can be mainly attributed to small coastal catchments, which have experienced a marked increase in developed land and population, resulting in changes in land use and greater vulnerability. Changes in precipitation alone cannot explain the variation in flood patterns, although a certain increase was shown in late summer-early autumn, when extraordinary floods are most frequently recorded. The relationship between the North Atlantic circulation and floods is not as strong, due to the important role of mesoscale factors in heavy precipitation in the northwest of the Mediterranean region. However, it can explain the variance to some extent, mainly in relation to the catastrophic floods experienced during the autumn. Solar activity has some impact on changes in catastrophic floods, with cycles related to the quasi-biennial oscillation (QBO) and the Gleissberg solar cycle. In addition, anomalous periods of high flood frequency in autumn generally occurred during periods of increased solar activity. The physical influence of the latter in general circulation patterns, the high troposphere and the stratosphere, has been analysed in order to ascertain its role in causing floods.