FLORIST – FLOod RISk on the northern foothills of the Tatra mountains

The costs of extreme weather events have exhibited a rapid upward trend in recent decades, at every spatial scale. Poland has been severely hit by massive floods in July 1997 as well as in May and June 2010. The number of fatalities in these two deluges in Poland was in excess of 50 and 20, respectively. FLORIST deals with the evaluation of flood risk on the northern foothills of the Tatra Mountains, where considerable flood generation potential exists, especially in the Dunajec River basin.

Based on observation records and model-based projections of future precipitation, intense precipitation, and river discharge, FLORIST will assess changes in flood risk. There is some, but not ubiquitous, evidence of increase in the frequency and intensity of heavy precipitation events and peak flood discharges and stages. The project will extend the pool of information on floods and flood-generating processes, thus augmenting the existing data base. Information on past torrential and flood disasters for the study area will be collected from multiple sources: observational networks, archival records, and dendrogeomorphic field studies conducted within the project. This will allow characteristics of past flood disasters to be reconstructed and interpreted. Meteorological conditions, precipitation thresholds, as well as weather and circulation patterns involved in the triggering of torrential disasters will be examined. In addition, future change in extreme precipitation events will be examined at the case-study sites based on spatially downscaled RCM ensemble projections. The likelihood of the occurrence of changes in frequency and magnitude of intense precipitation, torrential disasters, and flooding by 2050 and 2100 will be analysed. Retrospective modelling of past torrential disasters and floods will be carried out. Based on this experience, scenario-defined modelling of extreme future events will be performed, which will allow quantification of risks of past and potential future events.



Contractors: Polish-Swiss Research Programme; Swiss Development and Cooperation Agency (SDC), and State Secretariat of Foreign Affairs (seco)

Polish project leader: Polish Academy of Sciences, Institute for Agricultural and Forest Environment, Poznan.

Project duration: 2012–2016

Contact: Markus Stoffel

Learn more about the Polish Swiss Research Program and the FLORIST project


Kundzewicz, Z.W., Stoffel, M., Kaczka, R., Wyzga, B., Niedzwiedz, T., Pinskwar, I., Ruiz-Villanueva, V., Lupikasza, E., Czajka, B., Ballesteros-Canovas, J.A., Malarzewski, L., Chorynski, A. (in press): Floods at the northern foothills of the Tatra Mountains – A Polish-Swiss research project. Acta Geophysica.

Niedzwiedz, T., Lupikasza, E., Pinskwar, I., Kundzewicz, Z.W., Stoffel, M., Malarzewski, L. (in press): Climatological background of floods at the northern foothills of the Tatra Mountains. Theoretical and Applied Climatology.