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

Abstract

We report that 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 formore » over-design at 20% of the stations, primarily in the Middle Rockies and Arizona mountains. Finally, 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 [1]
  1. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
  2. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Univ. of Washington, Seattle, WA (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1492448
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-126849
Journal ID: ISSN 0043-1397
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Water Resources Research
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 54; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 0043-1397
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; hydrometeorological; next‐generation IDF; rain‐on‐snow; snowmelt; infrastructure design; resilience

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. https://doi.org/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. https://doi.org/10.1002/2017WR021290. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1492448.
@article{osti_1492448,
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 = {We report that 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. Finally, 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},
url = {https://www.osti.gov/biblio/1492448}, journal = {Water Resources Research},
issn = {0043-1397},
number = 2,
volume = 54,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {2}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
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Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 16 works
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Figures / Tables:

Table 1 Table 1: Rainfall/Snowmelt Classification Based on the Daily SNOTEL Accumulated Precipitation (PREC) and Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) Data Sets

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    Works referencing / citing this record:

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    journal, January 2020


    Quantifying Changes in Future Intensity‐Duration‐Frequency Curves Using Multimodel Ensemble Simulations
    journal, March 2018


    Impact of Atmospheric Rivers on Surface Hydrological Processes in Western U.S. Watersheds
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    A Framework to Delineate Precipitation‐Runoff Regimes: Precipitation Versus Snowpack in the Western United States
    journal, November 2019


    Regional Snow Parameters Estimation for Large‐Domain Hydrological Applications in the Western United States
    journal, May 2019