Worldwide, floods cause greater economic damage and loss of human life than any other type of natural disaster. We urgently need better assessments of flood hazards to reduce the societal impact of extreme floods caused by Earth’s rapidly changing climate, among other factors.
One way of assessing flood hazards is to examine past floods using the records provided by hydrological instruments. We can extend this knowledge back through the Holocene period or beyond using historical documents and natural archives (including alluvial, marine, and lake sediments; tree rings; and cave formations). These extended records can provide valuable information about long-term flood trends.