Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2012DC136B

Anticipating Climate Change based on Precipitation Analysis for the District of Columbia

Institute: District of Columbia
Year Established: 2012 Start Date: 2012-03-01 End Date: 2013-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $3,818 Total Non-Federal Funds: $2,682

Principal Investigators: Pradeep Behera

Abstract: Since the publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change documents (IPCC, 2007), there has been a growing interests among scientists, engineers, governments and public to understand climate change issues and its associated impacts. Climate change and water resources management are closely related because climate change affects the hydrologic cycle directly. The potential climate change can have significant impacts on our water resources and related sectors such as water availability, flooding, urban infrastructures, water quality, ecosystems, coastal areas navigation, hydropower, economy and other energy sources (USGS, 2009). As a result, water resources managers who play an active role in planning, designing, operating and maintaining these water resources related systems will also be impacted by climate change (Brekke, et. al, 2009). To understand and in support of informed decision for adaptation climate change related issues, a number of federal, state and local government agencies have launched several evaluations of vulnerability of their critical infrastructures to the potential climate change. Climate change has the potential to increase the variability in extreme weather events. In this regard, the evaluation of impact of climate change on our critical aging infrastructures, most importantly water infrastructures (i.e., water supply systems, sewer systems, drainage systems, hydraulic structures including bridges, culverts and dams) of the nations capital, Washington DC, is very important because the city houses a significant number of federal agencies, several national monuments, international embassies and serves as a major economic center for the Washington Metropolitan area. To support the information on climate change to the water resources professionals, engineers and other officials, this project proposes to conduct a technical analysis of the long-term point rainfall data for determining the potential climate change trend. The long-term rainfall record will be divided chronologically into lengths of 20-30 year of segments. For each of these segments, storm event analysis, intensity-duration-frequency curve analysis and World Meteorological Organization extreme event analysis recommended will be performed. A comparative analysis of design storm event volumes for various return periods and volumes for extreme event storms will be performed to see the trends in different time period segments. Such information is very critical for our water resources professionals, engineers and regulatory authorities.