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A point process model of drainage system capacity under climate change

PI: Latham Stack
Numerous studies report that intensified precipitation resulting from anthropogenic climate change will likely stress civil infrastructures. Communities may have a window of opportunity to prepare, but information to support preparation programs is sparse. For a small city’s watershed we assessed the present culvert system’s capacity for conveying expected peak flow, Qp, resulting from climate change and full build-out. Least squares regression was used to transfer, to the study site, expected increases to point process location, scale, and regionalized shape parameters for 6 grid points from the GFDL CM-2.1 GCM. Runoff rates and Qp were modeled by the NRCS TR-55 curve number and HEC-22 methods. Standard civil engineering methods were used to reverse-engineer existing culverts, and replacement costs were estimated using national construction cost estimators. The mid-21st century 25-year precipitation is estimated to be 29% greater than the historical 25-year precipitation, and 15% greater than the TP-40 design storm. The 15% increase over the TP-40 value equals the 15% rule of thumb proposed by previous research. 44% of culverts likely will be undersized as a result of climate change and build-out, placing people and property at risk. A long-term upgrade project, utilizing existing strategies to manage uncertainty and costs, may maintain historically acceptable risk levels. This study shows that current GCM output and statistical methods can generate reliable and specific estimates of impacts from climate change, in support of programs to prepare civil infrastructures.
  • Stack L.J., M.H. Simpson, T.W. Crosslin, W.S. Spearing, EPM Hague, A point process model of drainage system capacity under climate change. Climatic Change. Submitted. Abstract. Edit.

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