Hydrological Sciences

May the year-end be Exceptional, not only hydrologically!

May the year-end be Exceptional, not only hydrologically!

What a hydrological year it has been!  From the winter drought and flash floods detailed in Matano and Avanzi‘s blog post to the remarkably warm and wet November 2023, Europe has witnessed a range of extraordinary weather phenomena. In the Alpine region, the convergence of warm and wet weather resulted in numerous rain-on-snow events (see eg. the streamflow recording below), offering valuable insights for modelers seeking to refine their representations of such complex phenomena.

As hydrologists, many of you may have found yourselves in the spotlight, providing insights to the media and explaining the involved hydrological processes. The unexpected twists of the hydrological year also extended to the realm of hydrology education.

Speaking of education, my role as a hydrology teacher (for geography students) took an unexpected turn with the wet autumn: I received the best course evaluations ever! After years of teaching hydrology during continuously dry autumn semesters, I discovered how enthusiastic the students become if each lecture starts with an analysis of recent local events and if they can go out and observe return flow or saturation overland flow in the agricultural fields around the city.

As the year concludes, the blog team extends warm wishes for a relaxing end of the year and a joyful holiday period. May the lessons learned from this exceptional hydrological year pave the way for even more insightful discoveries in the coming year!


Recorded discharge over the last 40 days (21.12.2023) at the gauging station “Arve – Bout du Monde” of the Swiss hydrological service, close to the outlet of lake Geneva; the river has its source in the Mont Blanc Massif, the events involved a mixture of rain-on-snow and rainfall. The color shading indicate the danger levels from green (low danger to dark red: very high danger)

Bettina Schaefli
Bettina Schaefli is a professor for hydrology at University of Bern (Switzerland). She was the head of the Catchment Hydrology Subdivision of EGU from 2016-2019 and was an editor of Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (2008-2022). She has been the lead editor of the Hydrology Blog since 2018.

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