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Title: Evaluating next-generation intensity–duration–frequency curves for design flood estimates in the snow-dominated western United States

Abstract

Civil infrastructure such as culverts and bridges are commonly designed using precipitation-based intensity-duration-frequency (PREC-IDF) curves, which assume that the occurrence of precipitation is in the form of rainfall and immediately available for the rainfall-runoff process. In snow-dominated regions, where most winter precipitation occurs as snow that melts during spring to early summer, the use of standard PREC-IDF curves may lead to substantial underestimation of design floods and high failure risk of infrastructure. In this context, we developed next-generation IDF (NG-IDF) curves that characterize the actual water reaching the land surface (i.e., rainfall plus snowmelt) to enhance standard infrastructure design in snow-dominated regions. This study evaluates the performance of NG-IDF curves coupled with U.S. Department of Agriculture Technical Release 55 hydrologic model in estimating design floods for 246 snowy locations in different hydroclimate regimes of the western United States. Design flood estimates from a well-validated continuous simulation using a physics-based hydrologic model, the Distributed Hydrology Soil Vegetation Model (DHSVM), were used as the performance benchmark. Compared with the benchmark estimates, the standard PREC-IDF curves led to substantial errors in design flood estimates while the NG-IDF curves significantly reduced these errors. For example, the averaged error in the 50-year design flood estimatesmore » over the 246 locations was reduced from 31% with the use of PREC-IDF curves to 12% with the use of NG-IDF curves. Despite the different model structures, the single-event NG-IDF approach versus the continuous simulation DHSVM did not exhibit statistically significant differences in 91% of the 246 locations for the 50-year design flood estimates. We find this indicates a satisfactory performance of NG-IDF curves to estimate design flow under the conditions tested in the snow-dominated western United States. This article also presents technical suggestions and the limitations of infrastructure design using NG-IDF curves for regulatory agencies and practicing engineers.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [1];  [2];  [1]; ORCiD logo [1];  [1];  [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:
1600720
Report Number(s):
[PNNL-SA-143219]
[Journal ID: ISSN 0885-6087]
Grant/Contract Number:  
[AC05-76RL01830]
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Hydrological Processes
Additional Journal Information:
[ Journal Volume: 34; Journal Issue: 5]; Journal ID: ISSN 0885-6087
Publisher:
Wiley
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; design flood; DHSVM; infrastructure design; NG‐IDF curves; SNOTEL; snow‐dominated regions; TR‐55; western United States

Citation Formats

Yan, Hongxiang, Sun, Ning, Wigmosta, Mark S., Leung, Ruby L., Hou, Zhangshuan, Coleman, Andre, and Skaggs, Richard L. Evaluating next-generation intensity–duration–frequency curves for design flood estimates in the snow-dominated western United States. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1002/hyp.13673.
Yan, Hongxiang, Sun, Ning, Wigmosta, Mark S., Leung, Ruby L., Hou, Zhangshuan, Coleman, Andre, & Skaggs, Richard L. Evaluating next-generation intensity–duration–frequency curves for design flood estimates in the snow-dominated western United States. United States. doi:10.1002/hyp.13673.
Yan, Hongxiang, Sun, Ning, Wigmosta, Mark S., Leung, Ruby L., Hou, Zhangshuan, Coleman, Andre, and Skaggs, Richard L. Fri . "Evaluating next-generation intensity–duration–frequency curves for design flood estimates in the snow-dominated western United States". United States. doi:10.1002/hyp.13673.
@article{osti_1600720,
title = {Evaluating next-generation intensity–duration–frequency curves for design flood estimates in the snow-dominated western United States},
author = {Yan, Hongxiang and Sun, Ning and Wigmosta, Mark S. and Leung, Ruby L. and Hou, Zhangshuan and Coleman, Andre and Skaggs, Richard L.},
abstractNote = {Civil infrastructure such as culverts and bridges are commonly designed using precipitation-based intensity-duration-frequency (PREC-IDF) curves, which assume that the occurrence of precipitation is in the form of rainfall and immediately available for the rainfall-runoff process. In snow-dominated regions, where most winter precipitation occurs as snow that melts during spring to early summer, the use of standard PREC-IDF curves may lead to substantial underestimation of design floods and high failure risk of infrastructure. In this context, we developed next-generation IDF (NG-IDF) curves that characterize the actual water reaching the land surface (i.e., rainfall plus snowmelt) to enhance standard infrastructure design in snow-dominated regions. This study evaluates the performance of NG-IDF curves coupled with U.S. Department of Agriculture Technical Release 55 hydrologic model in estimating design floods for 246 snowy locations in different hydroclimate regimes of the western United States. Design flood estimates from a well-validated continuous simulation using a physics-based hydrologic model, the Distributed Hydrology Soil Vegetation Model (DHSVM), were used as the performance benchmark. Compared with the benchmark estimates, the standard PREC-IDF curves led to substantial errors in design flood estimates while the NG-IDF curves significantly reduced these errors. For example, the averaged error in the 50-year design flood estimates over the 246 locations was reduced from 31% with the use of PREC-IDF curves to 12% with the use of NG-IDF curves. Despite the different model structures, the single-event NG-IDF approach versus the continuous simulation DHSVM did not exhibit statistically significant differences in 91% of the 246 locations for the 50-year design flood estimates. We find this indicates a satisfactory performance of NG-IDF curves to estimate design flow under the conditions tested in the snow-dominated western United States. This article also presents technical suggestions and the limitations of infrastructure design using NG-IDF curves for regulatory agencies and practicing engineers.},
doi = {10.1002/hyp.13673},
journal = {Hydrological Processes},
number = [5],
volume = [34],
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {12}
}

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