Tison Award 2011 / Prix Tison 2011

Zbignew Kundzewicz, IAHS Editor, reading the 2011 Tison Award Citation, in Melbourne in the framework of the framework of the XXVth IUGG General Assembly

Citation by Z. W. Kundzewicz

The 2011 Tison Award, honouring an outstanding paper of a young scientist in IAHS publications, goes to an Icelandic author, Dr Emmanuel Pagneux, for the paper “Inundation extent as a key parameter for assessing the magnitude and return period of flooding events in southern Iceland”. This paper, published in Hydrological Sciences Journal, 55(5) in 2010, was jointly authored by three scientists from Iceland - Emmanuel Pagneux, Guðrún Gísladóttir & Árni Snorrason, but only the lead author receives the Award, as only he is eligible, age-wise. The awarded paper emanates from a cooperative doctoral research project between the Icelandic Meteorological Office and the University of Iceland.

In the Icelandic river basin studied in the paper, there are a range of flood-generating mechanisms, such as precipitation and snowmelt; but also the formation, drifting and accumulation of river ice leading to ice jamming; glacial outburst (glacial lake emptying); and marine submergence induced by wind storm. Hence, when assessing the magnitude of floods, river discharge has to be used with caution, because for some events the extent of inundations is not reflected in the discharge records.

The awarded paper contains a GIS-based study, focusing on inundation extent and including several generation mechanisms, for the assessment and ranking of the magnitude of past flooding in a river basin. The approach enriches the interpretation of time series of inundations of both contemporaneous and historical events.

The technique was designed to deal with the specific situation in the particular river basin in Iceland with record of damaging floods, hence the possibility of direct generalization is limited. However, the findings will be of interest in regions where discharge records fail to reflect consistently the magnitude of floods. They can be of interest for implementation of the Floods Directive of the European Union which obliges the EU Member Countries to create flood risk maps and flood hazard maps.

It is opportune that the Tison Award of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences goes to an international scientist – a Frenchman working in Iceland.

As the Chair of the Tison Award Committee, I wish to express the wish that bestowing the Tison Award on Dr Emmanuel Pagneux encourages the author to further pursue fine research work in the domain of hydrological sciences and serves as a springboard in his international scientific career.

Z. W. Kundzewicz
IAHS Editor and Chair of the Jury of the 2011 Tison Award

Emmanuel Pageux message, read by Kristin Vogfjörð

Dear colleagues,
I deeply regret not being here with you in Melbourne. I would like to say how much I am honoured and surprised to receive the Tison award. As a geographer, I have to confess that being awarded this prestigious hydrology prize is quite amazing and somewhat undue !  I want to share this prize with the co-authors of the paper, Dr Guðrún Gísladóttir, professor of geography at the University of Iceland, and Dr Árni Snorrason, Director of the Icelandic Meteorological Office. It was important to us to demonstrate that the relation between gauge observations and the extent and boundaries of flooding events is weak in certain circumstances, and it was our objective to propose a comprehensive mapping methodology that would have a place in the preliminary assessment of flood hazard. We hope that the approach developed will serve beyond the frontiers of Iceland.
Thank you very much

Ms Kristin Vogfjörð, between Gordon Young, IAHS President on the left,
and Zbignew Zundzewicz, IAHS Editor on the right, receiving the Tison Award on behalf of Emmanuel Pagneux