Estimating Future Flood Frequency and Magnitude in Basins Affected by Glacier Wastage

Infrastructure, such as bridge crossings, require informed structural designs in order to be effective and reliable for decades. A typical bridge is intended to operate for 75 years or more, a period of time anticipated to exhibit a warming climate and, consequently, hydrologic changes (IPCC 2007). An understanding of present and future possible hydrologic conditions is necessary to avoid damage to critical infrastructure and costly disruptions to Alaska's transportation network. Changes in glacier extent in response to climate warming and/or altered precipitation regimes have the potential to substantially alter the magnitude and timing as well as the spatial variation of watershed-scale hydrologic fluxes. The dominant goal, as highlighted by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (ADOT&PF) Bridge Section Hydraulic Squad, is to improve estimates of peak flow frequency and magnitude at bridges crossing glacierized basins. This requires an understanding of the coupled hydologic system (glacier to overall watershed), and therefore a quantification of the role of glaciers on present watershed-scale runoff before we can estimate how climate warming may affect basin-wide discharge regimes. The project approach will include analysis of a) historic hydrologic data sets and b) complementary field measurements and model simulations to provide refined products that meet ADOT&PF needs. This project's primary objective is to compare estimates of future flood magnitude and frequency between traditional statistical methods, which sole utilize historic runoff measurements, to physically-based hydrologic model projections.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    University Transportation Centers Program
    1200 New Jersey Avenue
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Liljedahl, Anna

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Alaska Fairbanks

    College of Engineering & Mines
    P.O. Box 755960
    Fairbanks, AK  United States  99775-5960
  • Principal Investigators:

    Liljedahl, Anna

  • Start Date: 20120301
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20140930
  • Source Data: RiP Project 32310

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01539973
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Pacific Northwest Transportation Consortium
  • Contract Numbers: DTRT12-G-UTC10
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Oct 9 2014 1:00AM