Classification of flood-generating processes in Africa

Yves Tramblay, Gabriele Villarini, Mohamed Elmehdi Saidi, Christian Massari, Lina Stein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


River flooding has large societal and economic impacts across Africa. Despite the importance of this topic, little is known about the main flood generating mechanisms in Africa. This study is based on 13,815 flood events that occurred between 1981 and 2018 in 529 catchments. These flood events are classified to identify the different flood drivers: excess rains, long rains and short rains. Out of them, excess rains on saturated soils in Western Africa, and long rains for catchments in Northern and Southern Africa, are the two dominant mechanisms, contributing to more than 75% of all flood events. The aridity index is strongly related to the spatial repartition of the different flood generating processes showing the climatic controls on floods. Few significant changes were detected in the relative importance of these drivers over time, but the rather short time series available prevent a robust assessment of flood driver changes in most catchments. The major implication of these results is to underline the importance of soil moisture dynamics, in addition to rainfall, to analyze the evolution of flood hazards in Africa.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number18920
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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