Detecting, Interpreting, and Modeling Hydrologic Extremes to Support Flexible Water Management and Planning

HAPpy Hour Seminar

May. 18, 2018

3:30 – 4:30 pm MDT

NCAR Foothills Lab, FL2-3107
Main content


It is generally thought that increasing greenhouse gases will lead to an intensification of the hydrologic cycle, with an increase in heavy precipitation, potentially increasing local runoff. In addition to posing flooding threats, these potentially increasing extreme events could present opportunities for water supply. This is of particular interest in the Western United States, especially in places where water supplies are already strained and reliance on decreasing snowpack is a vulnerability.

The purpose of this study is to put forth a framework towards identifying the intersections between how hydrologic extremes are changing and potential opportunities for water management. The study is guided by the following research questions:

(1) How can we detect and interpret the variability and trends of hydrologic extremes?

(2) How can we incorporate this understanding into non-stationary tools that support flexible water management and improved planning?

In this presentation, I will describe the overall research project and discuss preliminary results to date. The research is demonstrated using New Mexico basins managed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and so far has focused on detecting and interpreting the variability and trends of characteristics of hydrologic extremes, especially for decision-relevant thresholds and locations.  

Erin Towler, Capacity Center for Climate and Weather Extremes (C3WE) in MMM