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Journal Articles Sedimentology Year : 2015

Is a regional flood signal reproducible from lake sediments?


The evolution of flood activity with global warming remains uncertain. To better assess flood–climate relationships, lake sediments are increasingly being investigated because they could provide regional flood histories long enough to cover past climate changes. However, site‐specific sedimentary processes may bias flood reconstructions. The aim of this article is to investigate these effects through the reconstruction of two distinct flood records from independent, neighbouring sedimentary basins of the same lake (Lake Allos in the Mediterranean French Alps), i.e. under the same climate conditions. Understanding of sedimentary processes is crucial in order to adapt the sampling strategy and the flood‐intensity proxy to each sedimentary system and, thereby, reconstruct a complete and reliable flood history. Thanks to this detailed approach, the main trends of the regional flood variability can be reproduced; i.e. periods of high flood‐frequency, ranges of flood‐frequency values and timing of the most intense events. In detail, some differences appeared associated to the various stream capacities to erode and transport flood sediments to the lake system, implying variable sensitivity of sedimentary systems in recording floods. Comparing regional flood records based on independent sedimentary systems from similar environments could thus be a complementary approach to assessing past flood intensity. Such an approach could open particularly interesting perspectives because reconstructing the long‐term evolution of flood intensity is a key challenge in the geosciences.

Dates and versions

hal-01878808 , version 1 (21-09-2018)



Bruno Wilhelm, Pierre Sabatier, Fabien Arnaud. Is a regional flood signal reproducible from lake sediments?. Sedimentology, 2015, 62 (4), pp. 1103 - 1117. ⟨10.1111/sed.12180⟩. ⟨hal-01878808⟩
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