Floods in Iceland

Árni Snorrason, Bergur Einarsson, Emmanuel Pagneux, Jórunn Hardardóttir, Matthew J. Roberts, Oddur Sigurdsson, Ódinn Thórarinsson, Philippe Crochet, Tomas Jóhannesson, Thorsteinn Thorsteinsson

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    The maritime climate of Iceland is characterized by mild winters and cool summers. Floods in Iceland have been classified into three main categories: rainfall floods which often are combined with melting of snow and ice, floods due to ice formation and release within river channels, and glacier outburst floods or jokulhlaups, which originate in subglacial or marginal lakes. Floods induced by rainfall and/or melting of snow and ice are the most frequent river floods in Iceland. Glacier outburst floods are known to have occurred in Iceland since the time of deglaciation at the end of the ice age. Iceland is a sparsely populated country and no settlements are currently located in areas that have been inundated by repeated flooding in past centuries. The cyclicity of jokulhlaups emerging from subglacial and marginal lakes means that the occurrence of those events can be predicted reasonably well, and knowledge of the eruptive behaviour of monitored subglacial volcanoes is steadily increasing.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationChanges in Flood Risk in Europe
    PublisherCRC Press
    Number of pages20
    ISBN (Electronic)9781136225468
    ISBN (Print)9781138475205
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

    Bibliographical note

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    © IAHS Press, 2012. All rights reserved.


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