An upshot of taxes? They document historical floods.

Catastrophic floods only occur once or twice a century. This makes it difficult to determine if they are becoming more or less frequent in a changing climate since instrumental flood measurements only go back to the late 1800’s. However, historical hydrologists are digging flood information out of unexpected archives: tax records. Read my interview with Rudolf Brázdil in EGU’s Geolog to learn more.

The Long Bridge across the River Svratka in Brno where ice floes accumulated during the flood of March 1830 after the extremely severe winter of 1829-1830. (Reproduction of a colour drawing by Frantisek Richter, Brno City Archives, Collection of graphics, prints and reprints, no. 255R)