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Hydrologic versus geomorphic drivers of trends in flood hazard

Slater, Louise J., Singer, Michael Bliss ORCID: and Kirchner, James W. 2015. Hydrologic versus geomorphic drivers of trends in flood hazard. Geophysical Research Letters 42 (2) , pp. 370-376. 10.1002/2014GL062482

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Flooding is a major hazard to lives and infrastructure, but trends in flood hazard are poorly understood. The capacity of river channels to convey flood flows is typically assumed to be stationary, so changes in flood frequency are thought to be driven primarily by trends in streamflow. We have developed new methods for separately quantifying how trends in both streamflow and channel capacity have affected flood frequency at gauging sites across the United States Flood frequency was generally nonstationary, with increasing flood hazard at a statistically significant majority of sites. Changes in flood hazard driven by channel capacity were smaller, but more numerous, than those driven by streamflow. Our results demonstrate that accurately quantifying changes in flood hazard requires accounting separately for trends in both streamflow and channel capacity. They also show that channel capacity trends may have unforeseen consequences for flood management and for estimating flood insurance costs.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License
Publisher: American Geophysical Union (AGU)
ISSN: 0094-8276
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 25 September 2020
Date of Acceptance: 29 December 2014
Last Modified: 06 May 2023 20:15

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