An assessment of flood occurrences in Poland in the 16th century

Abstract

Study region The contemporary area of Poland comprises six main regions: Baltic Coast and Pomerania, Masuria-Podlasie, Greater Poland, Masovia, Silesia, Lesser Poland, and three main river basins, the Vistula, the Oder, and the Baltic Coast. Study focus To fill the knowledge gap for historical floods in Poland we used documentary evidence as reliable sources to assess historical floods in Poland during the 16th century. New hydrological insights for the region This research is one of the most novel and comprehensive studies of historical floods in Europe, spanning floods in Poland registered in the 16th century. Specifically, in addition to the list of flood occurrence records, we also provide detailed information about the historical sources used (including estimations of credibility), extracted weather notes, and indexation of flood intensity and origins. The results showed that, based on documentary evidence, 294 floods occurred in Poland in the study period. Most were recorded in the Silesia region (170 floods). The intensity of floods estimated based on the Brázdil et al. (2006b) and Barriendos and Coeur (2004) classifications indicated that most belong to “above-average or supra-regional flood” and “extraordinary” categories, respectively. Classifications of the origin of floods based on Lambor (1954) revealed that the main reason for flood occurrences in Poland during the 16th century was rain and its subtypes (torrential, frontal, and long-lasting, accounting for 53% of floods)

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