Why does MOSES focus on hydrological extremes?
Recent global projections predict a 10–20 % increase in the frequency and intensity of storm events with severe precipitation and floods for the northern hemisphere by the end of the century. In the past, major floods occurred at all large river systems in Central Europe. For the next decades, regionalized climate projections show a slight increase in wintertime precipitation and drier summers with episodic heavy rainfall.
The latest and clearly recognizable extremes in Central Europe are the floods in the Elbe catchment areas in 2002 and in the Elbe and Danube catchments in 2013. Similarly, series of disastrous floods caused by convective weather systems, but more localized on small river catchments, occurred in 2016 and 2017. Each of these floods has caused more than ten billion euros’ worth of damage, demonstrating their enormous ecological and socioeconomic impact. Due to the stochastic nature of such severe weather conditions, a thorough understanding of their temporal and spatial dynamics and the effects on the related systems, including ecosystems, is challenging.