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Title: Next-Generation Intensity-Duration-Frequency Curves for Hydrologic Design in Snow-Dominated Environments

Abstract

There is a renewed focus on the design of infrastructure resilient to extreme hydrometeorological events. While precipitation-based intensity-duration-frequency (IDF) curves are commonly used as part of infrastructure design, a large percentage of peak runoff events in snow-dominated regions are caused by snowmelt, particularly during rain-on-snow (ROS) events. In these regions, precipitation-based IDF curves may lead to substantial over-/under-estimation of design basis events and subsequent over-/under-design of infrastructure. To overcome this deficiency, we proposed next-generation IDF (NG-IDF) curves, which characterize the actual water reaching the land surface. We compared NG-IDF curves to standard precipitation-based IDF curves for estimates of extreme events at 376 Snowpack Telemetry (SNOTEL) stations across the western United States that each had at least 30 years of high-quality records. We found standard precipitation-based IDF curves at 45% of the stations were subject to under-design, many with significant under-estimation of 100-year extreme events, for which the precipitation-based IDF curves can underestimate water potentially available for runoff by as much as 125% due to snowmelt and ROS events. The regions with the greatest potential for under-design were in the Pacific Northwest, the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and the Middle and Southern Rockies. We also found the potential for over-design at 20%more » of the stations, primarily in the Middle Rockies and Arizona mountains. These results demonstrate the need to consider snow processes in the development of IDF curves, and they suggest use of the more robust NG-IDF curves for hydrologic design in snow-dominated environments.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2];  [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [3]
  1. Energy and Environment Directorate, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland Washington United States
  2. Energy and Environment Directorate, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland Washington United States; Distinguished Faculty Fellow, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle Washington United States
  3. Earth and Biological Sciences Directorate, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland Washington United States
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1430423
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-126849
Journal ID: ISSN 0043-1397; 453040142
DOE Contract Number:
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Water Resources Research; Journal Volume: 54; Journal Issue: 2
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
hydrometeorological

Citation Formats

Yan, Hongxiang, Sun, Ning, Wigmosta, Mark, Skaggs, Richard, Hou, Zhangshuan, and Leung, Ruby. Next-Generation Intensity-Duration-Frequency Curves for Hydrologic Design in Snow-Dominated Environments. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1002/2017WR021290.
Yan, Hongxiang, Sun, Ning, Wigmosta, Mark, Skaggs, Richard, Hou, Zhangshuan, & Leung, Ruby. Next-Generation Intensity-Duration-Frequency Curves for Hydrologic Design in Snow-Dominated Environments. United States. doi:10.1002/2017WR021290.
Yan, Hongxiang, Sun, Ning, Wigmosta, Mark, Skaggs, Richard, Hou, Zhangshuan, and Leung, Ruby. Thu . "Next-Generation Intensity-Duration-Frequency Curves for Hydrologic Design in Snow-Dominated Environments". United States. doi:10.1002/2017WR021290.
@article{osti_1430423,
title = {Next-Generation Intensity-Duration-Frequency Curves for Hydrologic Design in Snow-Dominated Environments},
author = {Yan, Hongxiang and Sun, Ning and Wigmosta, Mark and Skaggs, Richard and Hou, Zhangshuan and Leung, Ruby},
abstractNote = {There is a renewed focus on the design of infrastructure resilient to extreme hydrometeorological events. While precipitation-based intensity-duration-frequency (IDF) curves are commonly used as part of infrastructure design, a large percentage of peak runoff events in snow-dominated regions are caused by snowmelt, particularly during rain-on-snow (ROS) events. In these regions, precipitation-based IDF curves may lead to substantial over-/under-estimation of design basis events and subsequent over-/under-design of infrastructure. To overcome this deficiency, we proposed next-generation IDF (NG-IDF) curves, which characterize the actual water reaching the land surface. We compared NG-IDF curves to standard precipitation-based IDF curves for estimates of extreme events at 376 Snowpack Telemetry (SNOTEL) stations across the western United States that each had at least 30 years of high-quality records. We found standard precipitation-based IDF curves at 45% of the stations were subject to under-design, many with significant under-estimation of 100-year extreme events, for which the precipitation-based IDF curves can underestimate water potentially available for runoff by as much as 125% due to snowmelt and ROS events. The regions with the greatest potential for under-design were in the Pacific Northwest, the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and the Middle and Southern Rockies. We also found the potential for over-design at 20% of the stations, primarily in the Middle Rockies and Arizona mountains. These results demonstrate the need to consider snow processes in the development of IDF curves, and they suggest use of the more robust NG-IDF curves for hydrologic design in snow-dominated environments.},
doi = {10.1002/2017WR021290},
journal = {Water Resources Research},
number = 2,
volume = 54,
place = {United States},
year = {Thu Feb 01 00:00:00 EST 2018},
month = {Thu Feb 01 00:00:00 EST 2018}
}