Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UI researcher finds human activity muddies causes of Texas floods

09.08.2013
Texas is one of the most flood-prone states in the nation

Periodic flooding in Texas—one the most flood-prone states in the nation—cannot be firmly linked to climate change due to numerous dams and other manmade structures introduced over the years, according to a University of Iowa study.

The researchers also found that tropical cyclones are less responsible for major floods in the region than in the eastern United States.

The study, which looked at 70 years of records, appears in the August 2013 issue of the Journal of the American Water Resources Association.

Lead author Gabriele Villarini, assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and assistant research engineer at IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering, indicates that although the problem is severe, the causes of Texas flooding are less clear.

“In this study, we examined the time series of the largest flood peaks every year from 62 stations in Texas with a record of at least 70 years,” he says. “We were interested in examining whether flood magnitudes changed during the study period and, if so, what was the cause of these changes.

“We found that most of the changes we detected were related to human modification of the catchments and more specifically to river regulation.”

He points out that there are more than 7,100 permitted dams in Texas, with some 2,000 of them designed for flood control.

“We also examined the link between flooding and tropical cyclones. Tropical cyclones are an important flood agent with regionally varying effects. However, they are not associated with the largest flood events to the same degree we found for the eastern United States,” he says.

Historically, Texas experiences frequent flooding, resulting in numerous fatalities and extensive property damage. In fact, Villarini says, studies show that Texas led the nation in flood-related injuries and fatalities during the period from 1959 through 2005 and that Texas is the only state with fatalities occurring every year from 1960 through 2002.

But surprisingly, there are relatively few studies of Texas flooding focused on the long-term changes in hazardous flooding.

“Despite the large economic and societal impacts of flooding, there are few studies focusing on changes in annual maximum flood peak distribution in Texas. This is particularly important because of the possible acceleration of the hydrological cycle associated with human-induced climate change, which could potentially result in an increase of floods,” he says.

Villarini says that two of his future studies will also focus on flooding and tropical cyclones and their economic impact on the continental United States.

His colleague in the study, James A. Smith, is a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Princeton University.

The paper is formally titled “Flooding in Texas: Examination of Temporal Changes and Impacts of Tropical Cyclones.” The DOI number of the paper is: “10.1111/jawr.12042”.

The paper was supported by the Willis Research Network and by a subcontract from Rutgers University, Department of Environmental Sciences, under Agreement Number G11AP20215 from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Contacts
Gabriele Villarini, College of Engineering, 319-384-0596
Gary Galluzzo, University Communication and Marketing, 319-384-0009

Gary Galluzzo | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uiowa.edu

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht GPM sees deadly tornadic storms moving through US Southeast
01.12.2016 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Cyclic change within magma reservoirs significantly affects the explosivity of volcanic eruptions
30.11.2016 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>