Hydraulic modelling is widely used for deriving flood hazard maps featuring depth of flooding and flow velocity from discharge scenarios. Due to uncertainties about flow conditions or inaccurate terrain models, flood hazards maps obtained from hydraulic modelling may be of limited relevance and accuracy. Hydraulic modelling is particularly challenging in Arctic regions, where ice jams lead to flooding in areas that would not be subjected to inundation under open-water conditions. As numerical models of ice jam processes require information that may be difficult and expensive to collect, an alternative approach based on the photo interpretation of documented historical events is presented here. Orthophotographs and a digital elevation model at high resolution are used to support the photo interpretation process. Tested in an Icelandic watershed prone to ice jam floods, reconstructions provide locally unprecedented and robust information on the extent and depth of flooding of inundations induced by ice jams.

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