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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2018-210
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-2018-210
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 17 Aug 2018

Research article | 17 Aug 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).

Improving the understanding of flood risk in the Alsatian region by knowledge capitalization: the ORRION participative observatory

Florie Giacona1,2, Brice Martin3, Benjamin Furst3, Rüdiger Glaser4, Nicolas Eckert2, Iso Himmelsbach4, Charlotte Edelblutte3, and Luc Christiany5 Florie Giacona et al.
  • 1Institut des Sciences de l’Environnement – Université de Genève, 66 bd Carl Vogt, CH-1205 Genève, Switzerland
  • 2Univ. Grenoble Alpes, Irstea, UR ETGR, 2 rue de la Papeterie-BP 76, F-38402 St-Martin-d’Hères, France
  • 3Cresat, Université de Haute-Alsace, Campus Fonderie, 16 rue de la Fonderie 68093 Mulhouse cedex, France
  • 4IPG, Albert-Ludwig Universität Freiburg, Werthmannstrasse 4, 79098 Freiburg, Germany
  • 5CYSTEM SAS, Strasbourg, France

Abstract. Despite the strong societal impact of natural hazards, their documentation remains incomplete, with only a few inventories exceeding the past two centuries. Surprisingly enough, this also applies to Europe, a densely populated territory, and to floods, which along with storms is the most common and damage-causing natural hazard in this area. In addition, existing inventories have often been compiled by scientists and technicians and are used for risk management in a top-down manner, although the participation of all parties concerned has been recognized as a key factor for disaster reduction. To address this double paradox, the present article presents the regional flood risk observatory ORRION for the Alsatian region, northeastern France, and its very rich data content. Stemming from two successive interdisciplinary and transnational French-German research projects, ORRION was designed as a participative online platform where information is shared between individuals, stakeholders, engineers, and scientists. This original approach aims at maximizing knowledge capitalization and contributes to building a common knowledge base for flood risk. ORRION is organized by events including all river floods that have likely arisen from a single synoptic situation. For each event, it documents information sources, date of occurrence, causes, and consequences in terms of damage and affected river basins and municipalities. ORRION contributed toward renewing our knowledge of flood hazard and risk in the target area. Notably, here, long chronicles of floods are derived for 13 rivers, the Rhine and most of its main Alsatian tributaries, and for all Alsatian municipalities, most of them since the end of the 15th century, but over more than one millennium for the Rhine. Their main characteristics according to various typologies (seasonality, causes, severity, etc.) are analyzed. Major developments over the study period related to sources, land use, and/or climate change are identified. The advantages and limitations of the approach are discussed and the potential to expand both data exploitation and the building of common flood risk knowledge are listed.

Florie Giacona et al.
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Florie Giacona et al.
Florie Giacona et al.
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The article presents the Alsatian regional flood risk observatory ORRION, a participative online platform where information is shared between individuals, stakeholders, engineers, and scientists. This maximizing knowledge capitalization and contributes to building a common knowledge base for flood risk. From this information, long chronicles of floods are derived for the Rhine and most of its main Alsatian tributaries, and their main characteristics are identified and analysed.
The article presents the Alsatian regional flood risk observatory ORRION, a participative online...
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