L4: Hydromorphological changes of the Danube river

Monday, March 24, 2014 - 15:30 to 17:00

Describing the historical fluvial morphology of the Danube River calls for considering several spatial and temporal scales. Spatially, the analysis of the morphological patterns along the river’s course is demanding due to the complex geological framework conditions of the Danube basin. Moreover, the evolution of fluvial forms follows different trajectories depending on climatic/hydraulic conditions, sediment regime, geomorphological alterations in the basin and human interferences. Studies that describe the “natural” state of a river system typically refer to the pre-industrial state, i.e. the last 300 years. This is mainly due to the availability of historical sources. Rivers, however, have also undergone major modifications before that time frame due to climate and land use changes. During the last 200 years systematic river channelization and construction of hydropower plants led to all-embracing alterations in fluvial dynamics and river patterns in the entire Danube system.

In the lecture the following topics will be addressed:

  • the post-glacial history of the Danube River (long-term changes in fluvial morphology, dynamics, sediment transport and riverine structures that are greatly affected by climatic changes)
  • early human influences on the Danube system (large-scale land cover changes, changes in hydrology and sediment regime in the catchment)
  • overview of the main geomorphological Danube section with its typical river patterns in Modern Times prior to systematical regulation
  • discussion of fluvial forms and typical channel-forming processes of the Danube River
  • human impacts in Modern Times (local hydraulic constructions, channelization for navigation, flood protection measures, construction of hydropower plants, human impacts on larger tributaries)
  • current hydromorphological state of the Danube system (selection of main problems)

Please see also attached reading material for the lecture. 

Scientific area: 
Historical river morphology