Research

Our present core activity is the FluVAlps-plus Project (Sensitivity of alpine rivers to Global Change: High-resolution palaeoenvironmental records and modelling of extreme flood events in the Swiss Alps) funded by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science from January 2010 to December 2012.

Aims of research
The goal of the FluVAlps-plus Project is the contribution of knowledge about Late Holocene and historical terrestrial environmental changes in the Western Alps providing accurate data from fluvial sedimentary, pollen, documentary and instrumental records.
Methods
The generation of high-resolution environmental data from fluvial landforms records such as alluvial fans and fan deltas requires the use of an innovative methodology. We apply a multi-proxy approach, that integrates paleoecological, geomorphological, paleoclimatological, palynological, paleohydrological and documentary data.
Regional settings
The research focuses on the Late Holocene aggradation and environmental history of the Lütschine, Lombach, Aare, Sahne river fan deltas, as well asd further alluvial fans of small catchments of the Lake Brienz and Thun area defined as our study area at the northern slope of the Jungfrau massif (Swiss Alps).
Research highlights
The fluvial archives of the Lütschine fan record paleoclimatic variability from 4000 to 900 yr cal BP. For the last millennium, the anthropogenic impact changed the depositional conditions, reducing wetland environments. Moreover, this impact masks the climate signal of the pollen and geochemistry proxies. The correlation between the major flooding events and d14C anomalies suggest that aggradation of the Lütschine fan delta during the focused period was triggered by solar forcing. Floods occurred in the Lütschine River catchment during cold and wet periods.
Relevant publications

L. Schulte1, J. C. Peńa, F. Carvalho, T. Schmidt, R. Juliŕ, J. Llorca, and H. Veit, 2015.

A 2600-year history of floods in the Bernese Alps, Switzerland: frequencies, mechanisms and climate forcing

Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 3047-3072, 2015


J. C. Peńa1, L. Schulte, A. Badoux, M. Barriendos, and A. Barrera-Escoda, 2015.

Influence of solar forcing, climate variability and modes of low-frequency atmospheric variability on summer floods in Switzerland

Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 19, 3807-3827, 2015


L. Schulte, J.C. Peńa, R. Juliŕ, F. Carvalho, J. Llorca, J. Losada, F. Burjachs, T. Schmidt, P. Rubio, H. Veit, 2014.

CLIMATE FORCING OF PALEOFLOODS IN THE SWISS ALPS

Avances de la Geomorfología en Espańa 2012-2014. Editores: Susanne Schnabel y Álvaro Gómez Gutiérrez. XIII Reunión Nacional de Geomorfología, Cáceres, 2014. pp. 143-146

Universitat de BarcelonaICREA - Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis AvançatsUniversität BernServei Meteorològic de CatalunyaGobierno de España - Ministerio de Educación y CienciaAlexander von Humboldt Foundation