Abstracts on Global Climate Change

May 2004

Water level variability and trends in Lake Constance in the light of the 1999 centennial flood

Johnk, KD Straile, D Ostendorp, W

LIMNOLOGICA 34:1-2 15-21

The extreme flood of Lake Constance in 1999 focused attention on the variability of annual lake levels. The year 1999 not only brought one of the highest floods of the last 180 years but also one of the earliest in the season. The 1999 extreme event was caused by heavy rainfall in the alpine and pre-alpine regions. The influence of precipitation in the two distinct regional catchments on lake level variations can be quantified by correlation analysis. The long-term variations in lake level and precipitation show similar patterns. This is seen through the use of spectral analysis, which gives similar bands of spectral densities for precipitation and lake level time series. It can be concluded from the comparison of these results with the analysis of climate change patterns in northern Europe, i.e. the index of the North Atlantic Oscillation, that the regional effects on lake level variations are more pronounced than those of global climate change.

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