Hydrology and Land Surface Studies
Flood trends and river engineering on the Mississippi River system
Article first published online: 12 DEC 2008
Copyright 2008 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 35, Issue 23, December 2008
How to Cite
2008), Flood trends and river engineering on the Mississippi River system, Geophys. Res. Lett., 35, L23404, doi:10.1029/2008GL035987., , , , and (
- Issue published online: 12 DEC 2008
- Article first published online: 12 DEC 2008
- Manuscript Accepted: 10 NOV 2008
- Manuscript Revised: 3 NOV 2008
- Manuscript Received: 12 SEP 2008
- river engineering;
- Mississippi River
 Along >4000 km of the Mississippi River system, we document that climate, land-use change, and river engineering have contributed to statistically significant increases in flooding over the past 100–150 years. Trends were tested using a database of >8 million hydrological measurements. A geospatial database of historical engineering construction was used to quantify the response of flood levels to each unit of engineering infrastructure. Significant climate- and/or land use-driven increases in flow were detected, but the largest and most pervasive contributors to increased flooding on the Mississippi River system were wing dikes and related navigational structures, followed by progressive levee construction. In the area of the 2008 Upper Mississippi flood, for example, about 2 m of the flood crest is linked to navigational and flood-control engineering. Systemwide, large increases in flood levels were documented at locations and at times of wing-dike and levee construction.