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In December 2016 the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) decided to establish the "Space-Time Dynamics of Extreme Floods (SPATE)" Research Unit. The research collaborations will enable researchers to pursue pressing current issues in flood research. Research Units can be funded for a maximum of two periods of three years each.

Topic of research:

River floods are extremly important to society because of their potential damage and fatalities. Floods are also very interesting hydrological research subjects because of the intriguing non-linear interactions and feedbacks involved, intresting issues of generalisation and the need for investigating them in an interdisciplinary way. Extreme floods are not very well understood to date but new, high resolution data and new concepts for quantifying interactions promise a major breakthrough of a body of research carried out in a coordinated way. The objective of this Research Unit is to understand in a coherent way the atmospheric, catchment and river system processes and their interactions leading to extreme river floods. This will be the key to estimate how these events evolve in space and time.

The basic hypothesis of the research unit:
Extreme floods are different form small floods. Accurate predictions of extreme floods require an understanding of how the processes in the atmosphere, catchments and the river system interact at different space, time and event magnitude scales.