Improving flood risk assessment in the Trent, Witham and Yorkshire Ouse rivers using documentary and floodplain sedimentary archives

Josephine A Westlake


Interest in predicting UK flood events continues to grow following an increase in both the frequency and magnitude of recorded floods over the last 20 years.  (Foulds and Macklin, ). However current methods for analysing flood risk are based on statistical extrapolation of gauged flow records that are rarely longer than 50 years on average (Jones et al., 2010). It is also well known from historical sources (McEwen, 1987; Longfield and Macklin, 1999; Macdonald and Black, 2010; Macdonald and Sangster, 2017) and floodplain sedimentary records (Macklin et al., 1992; Macklin and Rumsby, 2007; Jones et al., 2012) that much larger floods have occurred before modern flow records began in the 20th century. This study aims to address these problems by reconstructing multi-centennial length flood histories and undertaking long term flood frequency analysis (FFA) on three UK river systems: the Witham, Trent and Yorkshire Ouse. It will extend the flood series record by incorporating historical and palaeoflood (floodplain sedimentary archives) data into a single flood series and assess non-stationarity arising from climate and land-use change (Naylor et al., 2017) and modification of channel capacity (Slater, 2016).


flood; flood frequency; palaeoflood; palaeochannel; flood risk; flood prediction; sediment core; stratigraphy

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