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Impacts of Climate Change on Extreme Precipitation Events Over Flamingo Tropicana Watershed

Authors

  • Anil Acharya,

    1. Respectively, Assistant Professor (Acharya), Civil Engineering, Alabama A and M University, 4900 Meridian Street North, Huntsville, Alabama 35810; Assistant Professor (Lamb), Civil Engineering, California State University, Pomona, California 91789
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  • Kenneth Lamb,

    1. Respectively, Assistant Professor (Acharya), Civil Engineering, Alabama A and M University, 4900 Meridian Street North, Huntsville, Alabama 35810; Assistant Professor (Lamb), Civil Engineering, California State University, Pomona, California 91789
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  • Thomas C. Piechota

    1. Interim Vice President for Research, Professor (Piechota), Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada 89154.
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  • Paper No. JAWRA-12-0011-P of the Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA). Discussions are open until six months from print publication.

(E-Mail/Acharya: anil.acharya@aamu.edu).

Abstract

Abstract:  Climate change, particularly the projected changes to precipitation patterns, is likely to affect runoff both regionally and temporally. Extreme rainfall events are expected to become more intense in the future in arid urban areas and this will likely lead to higher streamflow. Through hydrological modeling, this article simulates an urban basin response to the most intense storm under anthropogenic climate change conditions. This study performs an event-based simulation for shorter duration storms in the Flamingo Tropicana (FT) watershed in Las Vegas, Nevada. An extreme storm, defined as a 100-year return period storm, is selected from historical records and perturbed to future climatic conditions with respect to multimodel multiscenario (A1B, A2, B1) bias corrected and spatially disaggregated data from the World Climate Research Programme's (WCRP's) database. The cumulative annual precipitation for each 30-year period shows a continuous decrease from 2011 to 2099; however, the summer convective storms, which are considered as extreme storms for the study area, are expected to be more intense in future. Extreme storm events show larger changes in streamflow under different climate scenarios and time periods. The simulated peak streamflow and total runoff volume shows an increase from 40% to more than 150% (during 2041-2099) for different climate scenarios. This type of analysis can help evaluate the vulnerability of existing flood control system and flood control policies.

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