EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Cascading flood hazards: the role of large wood transport

Virginia Ruiz-Villanueva
Virginia Ruiz-Villanueva
  • University of Lausanne, Institute of Earth Surface Dynamics (IDYST), Faculty of Geosciences and the Environment, Switzerland (

Floods are one of the most relevant natural hazards, causing significant socio-economic damage every year globally. They will likely continue to increase for various reasons: the climate and global changes, two relevant ones. More importantly, our still limited capability to predict river response to flooding and anticipate the consequences by designing proper and sustainable risk mitigation measures. A recent example was Europe's floods in July 2021, the highest recorded. They led to many casualties and economic losses (i.e., 180 fatalities and billions of Euros). Extreme long, high-intensity rainfall resulted in extreme flows, particularly in small tributaries, but this could not solely explain the devastating impacts. Geomorphological changes, bank erosion and channel widening, sediment erosion and transport, and uprooted and transported trees and instream large wood accumulated at bridges played a significant role. However, these cascade processes are rarely quantified or considered in flood hazard and risk analysis. This is the focus of this talk. Case studies showing a combination of modelling approaches will illustrate how quantifying the supply and transport of instream large wood is essential in river reaches crossing infrastructures like bridges to assess flood-related hazards and risks.

How to cite: Ruiz-Villanueva, V.: Cascading flood hazards: the role of large wood transport, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 24–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-10255,, 2023.