2016 Vol. 27, No. 1
Statistical methods are commonly used to evaluate natural populations and environmental variables, yet these must recognize temporal trends in population character to be appropriate in an evolving world. New equations presented here define the statistical measures of aggregate historical populations affected by linear changes in population means and standard deviations. These can be used to extract the statistical character of present-day populations, needed to define modern variability and risk, from tables of historical data that are dominated by measurements made when conditions were different. As an example, many factors such as climate change and in-channel structures are causing flood levels to rise, so realistic estimation of future flood levels must take such secular changes into account. The new equations provide estimates of water levels for “100-year” floods in the USA Midwest that are 0.5 to 2 m higher than official calculations that routinely assume population stationarity. These equations also show that flood levels will continue to rise by several centimeters per year. This rate is nearly ten times faster than the rise of sea level, and thus represents one of the fastest and most damaging rates of change that is documented by robust data.
Flood wave propagation modeling is of critical importance to advancing water resources management and protecting human life and property. In this study, we investigated how the advection-diffusion routing model performed in flood wave propagation on a 16 km long downstream section of the Big Piney River, MO. Model performance was based on gaging station data at the upstream and downstream cross sections. We demonstrated with advection-diffusion theory that for small differences in watershed drainage area between the two river cross sections, inflow along the reach mainly contributes to the downstream hydrograph’s rising limb and not to the falling limb. The downstream hydrograph’s falling limb is primarily determined by the propagated flood wave originating at the upstream cross section. This research suggests the parameter for the advectiondiffusion routing model can be calibrated by fitting the hydrograph falling limb. Application of the advection diffusion model to the flood wave of January 29, 2013 supports our theoretical finding that the propagated flood wave determines the downstream cross section falling limb, and the model has good performance in our test examples.
Xiangxi River Basin, located in western Hubei Province in central China, is a karst ridge-trough area with an inhomogeneous and complicated distribution of water resources. This paper compares the characteristics of surface and subsurface floods in this karst basin, utilizing a one-parameter Darcian model and the traditional exponential model. The observed hydrographs and inferred water components are strikingly similar for surface and subsurface floods. The Darcian model and the exponential model are based on different views of the flood generation process, with the former fitting the entire hydrograph with a single time constant, and the latter fitting only the recession limb with multiple time constants. Due to the anisotropy and heterogeneity of karst media, a combination of physical and chemical techniques including the use of 3S (remote sensing, geographical information system, global positioning system) method is proposed for an enhanced hydrological investigation to assess and characterize karst water resources in mountainous areas.
Both central-eastern U.S. and China are prone to increasing flooding from Mississippi River and Yangtze River basins respectively. This paper contrasts historical and projected spatialtemporal distribution of extreme precipitation in these two large river basins using 31 CMIP5 (coupled model intercomparison project phase 5) models’ historical and RCP8.5 (representative concentration pathway) experiments. Results show that (1) over both river basins, the heaviest rainfall events have increased in recent decades while the lightest precipitation reduced in frequency. Over Mississippi River Basin, both the lightest precipitation (50 mm/day) would decrease in frequency notably after mid-2020s while intermediate events occur more frequently in future; whereas over the Yangtze River Basin, all categories of precipitation are projected to increase in frequency over the coming decades. (2) Although the consensus of CMIP5 models was able to reproduce well domain-time mean and even time-averaged spatial distribution of precipitation, they failed to simulate precipitation trends both in spatial distribution and time means. In a similar fashion, models captured well statistics of precipitation but they had difficulty in representing temporal variations of different precipitation intensity categories. (3) The well-documented 2nd half of the 20th century surface summer cooling over the two river basins showed different associations with precipitation trends with higher anti-correlation between them over the U.S. region, implying different processes contributing to the cooling mechanisms of the two river basins.
Copula-based bivariate frequency analysis can be used to investigate the changes in flood characteristics in the Huai River Basin that could be caused by climate change. The univariate distributions of historical flood peak, maximum 3-day and 7-day volumes in 1961–2000 and future values in 2061–2100 projected from two GCMs (CSIRO-MK3.5 and CCCma-CGCM3.1) under A2, A1B and B1 emission scenarios are analyzed and compared. Then, bivariate distributions of peaks and volumes are constructed based on the copula method and possible changes in joint return periods are characterized. Results indicate that the Clayton copula is more appropriate for historical and CCCma-CGCM3.1 simulating flood variables, while that of Frank and Gumbel are better fitted to CSIRO-MK3.5 simulations. The variations of univariate and bivariate return periods reveal that flood characteristics may be more sensitive to different GCMs than different emission scenarios. Between the two GCMs, CSIRO-MK3.5 evidently predicts much more severe flood conditions in future, especially under B1 scenario, whereas CCCma-CGCM3.1 generally suggests contrary changing signals. This study corroborates that copulas can serve as a viable and flexible tool to connect univariate marginal distributions of flood variables and quantify the associated risks, which may provide useful information for risk-based flood control.
The Birds Point-New Madrid Floodway (BP-NMF) and the Yolo Bypass, located on the Mississippi and Sacramento rivers, respectively, are agriculture areas that were once each part of vast wetlands but are now intermittently used for flood control. Here the similarity stops, the BP-NMF has been used to convey floodwaters only twice in nearly 80 years, while the Yolo Bypass is used for this purpose on average every other year. The consequences are greatly different. In 2011, the BP-NMF was activated through the explosive detonation of the ‘fuse plug” portion of its levees, resulting in elevated property and economic damages, crop losses, and litigation. High-energy flows following the opening of the BP-NMF scour coarse sediment in the vicinity of the opening of the BP-NMF and deposit this material within the floodway, including on agricultural fields. In general the environment of much of the BP-NMF provides poor wildlife habitat. In contrast, the routine operation of Yolo Bypass is expected, avoids damage and litigation, supplies organic-rich sediment to fields, and provides good wildlife habitat. The difference between the two systems is attributed to a better approximation of natural conditions on the Yolo Bypass.
Over the course of centuries, river systems have been heavily trained for the purpose of safe discharge of water, sediment and ice, and improves navigation. Traditionally, dikes are used to be reinforced and heightened to protect countries from ever higher flood levels. Other types of solutions than technical engineering solutions, such as measures to increase the flood conveyance capacity (e.g., lowering of groynes and floodplains, setting back dikes) become more popular. These solutions may however increase the river bed dynamics and thus impact negatively navigation, maintenance dredging and flood safety. A variety of numerical models are available to predict the impact of river restoration works on river processes. Often little attention is paid to the assessment of uncertainties. In this paper, we show how we can make uncertainty explicit using a stochastic approach. This approach helps identifying uncertainty sources and assessing their contribution to the overall uncertainty in river processes. The approach gives engineers a better understanding of system behaviour and enables them to intervene with the river system, so as to avoid undesired situations. We illustrate the merits of this stochastic approach for optimising lowland river restoration works in the Rhine in the Netherlands.
The application of conventional flood operation regulation is restricted due to insufficient description of flood control rules for the Pubugou Reservoir in southern China. Based on the requirements of different flood control objects, this paper proposes to optimize flood control rules with punishment mechanism by defining different parameters of flood control rules in response to flood inflow forecast and reservoir water level. A genetic algorithm is adopted for solving parameter optimization problem. The failure risk and overflow volume of the downstream insufficient flood control capacity are assessed through the reservoir operation policies. The results show that an optimised regulation can provide better performance than the current flood control rules.
Asphaltic concrete core (ACC) dams are widely built in China. Many ACC dams perform well, but others have experienced significant leakage including the case in western China studied herein. A numerical model of saturated-unsaturated water flow was adapted to simulate the seepage through the dam. By comparing the normal and abnormal seepage fields under different conditions, the main causes for the actual abnormal seepage field were identified and attributed to a defect in the ACC and an unintended, low permeability layer (LPL) in the transition zone (TZ) and the downstream dam shell. These conclusions are consistent with the situation and performance of the dam. Inadequate ACC construction processes might have caused defects in the ACC. An abrupt change of the ACC thickness probably induced stress concentrations and caused the ACC to fail. Material sources for the TZ and dam shell were complex and varied from specifications, and soil gradation for the TZ was inadequately controlled. In particular, tests show that the permeability varies over large ranges in these two parts of the dam. An unexpected LPL probably exists in both areas, and extends continuously.
Basin area is the primary control on both mean and peak streamflows, but relationships vary with regional meteorological conditions. Rich historical data sets permit deduction of these relationships for most areas of the United States, revealing both expected and unexpected correlations. On log-log plots, mean flows for most basins with >75 cm/y rainfall have unit slopes, with the y-intercept approximating the mean annual runoff. Lower slopes characterize regions where runoff is greatest at high topographic elevations, or where significant withdrawals for irrigation occur at lower elevations. Peak flows also correlate strongly with basin area, but the regressions for most regions have slopes ranging from 0.4 to 0.9, and y-intercepts that increase with increasing flood recurrence interval. The slopes on these log-log plots for peak flows are highest in cool regions with low sunshine and low evapotranspiration, and lowest where sunshine is abundant, evapotranspiration is high, and small convective storm cells are common. Effects of relief are small and inconsistent. Peak flows of small watersheds are huge compared to their mean flows, commonly being several thousand times greater, particularly in the USA midcontinent where the slopes for peak flows are low.
The Salton Sea is a terminal lake located in the deepest point of the topographically closed Salton Trough in southeastern California. It is currently the largest lake in area in the state. It was created by a flooding event along the Colorado River in 1905–1907, similar to the way historical floods over past centuries created ephemeral incarnations of ancient Lake Cahuilla in the same location. Its position at the center of today’s Imperial Valley, a hot and arid locale home to some of the most productive irrigated agricultural lands in the United States, has ensured its ongoing survival through a delicate balance between agricultural runoff, its principal form of input, and vast evaporation losses. Nevertheless, its parallel role as a recreational resource and important wildlife habitat, established over its first century of existence, is threatened by increasing salinity decreasing water quality, and reduced water allocations from the Colorado River that feeds the valley’s agriculture. The Salton Sea faces an increasingly uncertain future that will be influenced by reduced water imports from the Colorado River, demands for additional water sources to support farming and energy industries in the valley, and needs to stabilize the lake salinity, maintain recreational resources, and preserve what have become important ecosystems and wildlife habitats.
Cement channel linings in an urban stream in St. Louis, Missouri increase event water contributions during flooding, shorten transport times, and magnify geochemical variability on both short and seasonal timescales due to disruption of hyporheic flowpaths. Detailed analyses of water isotopes, major and trace elements, and in situ water quality data for an individual flood event reveal that baseflow contributions rise by 8% only 320 m downstream of the point where this particular channel changes from cement-lined to unlined. However, additional hydrograph separations indicate baseflow contributions are variable and can be much higher (average baseflow increase is 16%). Stream electrical conductivity (EC) and solute concentrations in the lined reach were up to 25% lower during peak flow than in the unlined channel, indicating a greater event flow fraction. In contrast, during low flow, stream EC and solute concentrations in the lined reach were up to 30% higher due to the restricted inflow of more dilute groundwater. Over longer timescales, EC, solute concentrations, turbidity, and bacterial loads decrease downstream signifying increasing contributions of dilute baseflow. The decreased connectivity of surface waters and groundwaters along the hyporheic zone in lined channels increases the hydrologic and geochemical variability of urban streams.
Hydrological data on the Upper Qingjiang River from 1960 to 2012 document trends of runoff caused by hydropower engineering projects and long-term changes in rainfall. Annual runoff correlates strongly with annual precipitation, but is significantly reduced after reservoir construction compared to earlier values. Comparisons of intense, pre- and post-construction rainfall events suggest that the Chebahe and Dalongtan reservoir projects respectively clips the magnitude of the flood peaks and delays runoff delivery.
The huge winter storm of December 23–29, 2015 delivered heavy rainfall in a broad swath across the USA, deluging East-Central Missouri. Record high river levels were set at many sites, but damages were most pronounced in developed floodplain areas, particularly where high levees were built or river channels greatly narrowed. An average of 20 cm of rain that mostly fell in three days impacted the entire 10 300 km2 Meramec Basin. Compared to the prior record flood of 1982, the highest relative stage (+1.3 m) on Meramec River occurred at Valley Park proximal to (1) a new levee, (2) a landfill in the floodway, (3) large floodplain construction fills, and (4) tributary creek basins impacted by suburban sprawl. Even though only a small fraction of the 1.8 million km2 Mississippi River watershed above St. Louis received extraordinary rainfall during this event, the huge channelized river near and below St. Louis rapidly rose to set the 3rd-highest to the highest stages ever, exhibiting the flashy response typical of a much smaller river.
When considering potential global warming projections, it is useful to understand the impact of each climate condition at 6 kyr before present. Asian paleoclimate was simulated by performing an integration of the multi-model ensemble with the paleoclimate modeling intercomparison project (PMIP) models. The reconstructed winter (summer) surface air temperature at 6 kyr before present was 0.85 oC (0.21 oC) lower (higher) than the present day over Asia, 60oE–150oE, 10oN–60oN. The seasonal variation and heating differences of land and ocean in summer at 6 kyr before present might be much larger than present day. The winter and summer precipitation of 6 kyr before present were 0.067 and 0.017 mm·day-1 larger than present day, respectively. The Group B climate, which means the dry climates based on K?ppen climate classification, at 6 kyr before present decreased 17% compared to present day, but the Group D which means the continental and microthermal climates at 6 kyr before present increased over 7%. Comparison between the results from the model simulation and published paleo-proxy record agrees within the limited sparse paleo-proxy record data.
Lakes in Tibet Plateau with little effects of human activities serve as important indicators of climate change. This study analysed remote sensing data and long term climate variables to examine the hydrological response of lakes in Nam Co Basin. The area changes of lakes were extracted by Landsat TM/ETM+ and analysed by SRTM 3 DEM. And the ICESat elevation data between 2003 and 2009 were used to observe the lake level of the Nam Co Lake. The results show that the number of new formed glacier lakes increased by 36% and the area of glacier lakes increased by 36.7% (0.97 km2) from 1991 to 2011. At the same time, the surface area of the Nam Co Lake expanded by 3.71% (72.64 km2) of the original size in 1991, with a tendency value of 3.63 km2 per year. The lake level of the Nam Co Lake shows an increase tendency of 0.24 m per year during 2003–2009. These variations appear to be related to an increase in mean annual temperature of 0.06 oC per year, and an increase in annual precipitation of 2.1 mm per year in summer in the last two decades. The increased number of lakes and increased area of glacial lakes reached a peak at an altitude of 5 500–5 600 m a.s.l.. The number of new formed glacier lakes and the area of glacier lakes tend to higher altitudes. Climate change has an important impact on the variation of the glacier lakes and the Nam Co Lake.
Many small mountain glaciers have been reported undergoing strong shrinkage, and it is therefore important to understand how they respond to climate change. The availability of topographic maps from 1962, Landsat TM imagery from 1990 and ASTER (Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Radiometer) imagery from 2006 and field investigation of some glaciers allow a comprehensive analysis of glacier change based on glacier size and topography on Mt. Bogda. Results include: (1) an overall loss of a glacierized area by 31.18±0.31 km2 or 21.6% from 1962 to 2006, (2) a marked dependence of glacier area shrinkage on initial size, with smaller glaciers experiencing higher shrinkage levels, (3) the disappearance of 12 small glaciers, (4) a striking difference in area loss between the southern and northern slopes of 25% and 17%, respectively. A subset of the investigated glaciers shows that the area 57.45±0.73 km2 in 1962 reduced to 54.79±0.561 km2 in 1990 and 48.88±0.49 km2 in 2006, with a relative area reduction of 4.6% during 1962–1990, and 10.8% during 1990–2006. The corresponding volume waste increased from 6.9% to 10.2%. Three reference glaciers were investigated in 1981 and revisited in 2009. Their terminus experienced a marked recession. Meteorological data from stations around Mt. Bogda reveals that glacier shrinkage is correlated with winter warming and an extension of the ablation period. Precipitation on the northwest side of the range shows a marked increase, with a slight increase on the southeast side.
The Chenyulan Stream in Central Taiwan follows the Chenyulan fault line which is a major boundary fault in Taiwan. In recent years, many destructive landslides have occurred in the Chenyulan Creek Basin after heavy rainfall accompanied by several strong typhoons. Three examples of landslide distributions in the Chenyulan Creek Basin, before and after 1996 and after 2004 are analyzed. The box dimension and two-point correlation dimension are employed to describe the landslide area size distribution and distance distribution between every two landslides, respectively. It is found that the number of landslides increased in this period. However, the average landslide area decreased. The correlation dimension gradually increased from 1.15 to 1.32 during this period (before and after 1996 and after 2004). This implies that the landslide distribution in the Chenyulan Creek Basin has become diffuse and extensive. The box dimension value shows the degree of the landslide density occupied in a space. The box dimension also increased from 0.3 to 0.69 during this period. The increasing box dimension means that the landslide presented in this creek basin has gradually increased. This indicates that the slopes of this creek basin have become more unstable and susceptible.
Ever since the impoundment of Three Gorges Reservoir (TGR), the seismicity in head region of TGR has increased significantly. Coupled with wide fluctuation of water level each year, it becomes more important to study the deformation forecasting of landslides beside TGR. As a famous active landslide beside TGR, Huangtupo riverside landslide is selected for a case study. Based on long term water level fluctuation and seismic monitoring, three typical adverse conditions are determined. With the established 3D numerical landslide model, seepage-dynamic coupling calculation is conducted under the seismic intensity of V degree. Results are as follows: 1. the dynamic water pressure formed by water level fluctuation will intensify the deformation of landslide; 2. under seismic load, the dynamic hysteresis is significant in defective geological bodies, such as weak layer and slip zone soil, because of much higher damping ratios, the seismic accelerate would be amplified in these elements; 3. microseisms are not intense enough to cause the landslide instability suddenly, but long term deformation accumulation effect of landslide should be paid more attention; 4. in numerical simulation, the factors of unbalance force and excess pore pressure also can be used in forecasting deformation tendency of landslide.