Streamflow Discharge Projections Considering Climate Change and Application

Bridges and large culverts are designed using historical streamflow data. However, these data do not account for the influence of expected increased precipitation (due to climate change) on streamflow. At the same time, other climate change impacts such as evapotranspiration and watershed characteristics such as percent urban may also affect streamflow. This project will investigate if increased precipitation is accompanied by higher streamflow. This project will also investigate the relationship between climate, physiographic characteristics, and streamflow. First, historical streamflow trend data will be analyzed. Streamflow trend data will be classified by type and magnitude of trend. The Virginia streamflow trend data will be mapped and the percent of stream gages in each trend type will be calculated. Other important characteristics such as median watershed area will be calculated for each trend type. Then, Virginia watersheds will be classified based on similar physiographic and climate characteristics. Watershed classes will be paired with streamflow trend maps to elicit relationships between streamflow, climate, and physiographic characteristics. The end product of this work is a map that will highlight regions of Virginia that may be particularly vulnerable to climate change or land development and thus necessitate future research. This research will improve Virginia Department of Transportation's (VDOT’s) understanding of historical streamflow trends, which in turn will improve VDOT’s ability to predict future trends in streamflows. The use of such trends by VDOT to inform design guidance will improve the resiliency of Virginia’s infrastructure.


    • English


    • Status: Active
    • Funding: $155565
    • Contract Numbers:


    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Virginia Transportation Research Council

      530 Edgemont Road
      Charlottesville, VA  United States  22903
    • Performing Organizations:

      Virginia Transportation Research Council

      530 Edgemont Road
      Charlottesville, VA  United States  22903
    • Principal Investigators:

      Rossetti, Maria

    • Start Date: 20231002
    • Expected Completion Date: 20250430
    • Actual Completion Date: 0

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01895145
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Virginia Department of Transportation
    • Contract Numbers: 124331
    • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
    • Created Date: Oct 3 2023 9:47AM