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Of Floods and Paleofloods Along the Middle Yellow River of China

Paper Reviewed
Liu, T., Huang, C.C., Pang, J., Zhou, Y., Zhang, Y., Ji, L. and Shang, R. 2014. Extraordinary hydro-climatic events during 1800-1600 yr BP in the Jin-Shaan gorges along the middle Yellow River, China. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 410: 143-152.

In a "palaeo-paper" published in volume 410 of Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, Liu et al. (2014) note that the conventional method of flood risk assessment is based on flood-frequency analyses that estimate discharge magnitudes associated with different return periods, which is normally conducted by fitting mathematical functions to the peak annual discharges from short gauge records (usually of several decades duration) for the catchment in question. They report, however, that this method of addressing flood risks can be improved by adding information about even earlier floods, especially the peak discharges of extreme floods identified from the paleoflood hydrology of the region in question, which they thus set about to do for the middle reaches of China's Yellow River.

Working with a series of paleoflood slackwater deposits found in alcoves on the bedrock cliffs of several sites along the Jin-Shaan gorges in the middle section of the Yellow River, the seven Chinese scientists say they encountered evidence of "past extraordinary flood events whose peak discharges were estimated to be between 39,000 and 52,220 m3/sec." And to give us a feeling for the relative magnitude of these discharges, they say that the larger of the two was "about double the largest gauged flood on the mainstream of the Yellow River as recorded in August 1976."

And there we have it! The degree of Yellow River flooding experienced in China over the last few decades - when the world's climate alarmists claim the Earth experienced unprecedented global warming - was likely nowhere near what was experienced there some 16 to 18 centuries ago, which additionally suggests that either the planet's current level of warmth may also be nowhere near what it was at that time, or that warming does not necessarily lead to greater flood events.

Posted 24 December 2014