Climate Change and Hydrologic Models

This course is designed to fulfill credit for the Professional Development Hours (PDH) of Civil Engineers. The objectives of this course are to provide students with knowledge and experience using the National Streamflow Statistics (NSS) program, familiarity with the scope of water resource hydrology, the role of precipitation in stream flow and the impact of climate change on streamflow modeling.

The NSS program is developed by the United States Geological Survey. Students will learn how to use the NSS program to estimate flood-frequency statistics (e.g., 5-year or 100-year flood) for hydrologic basins in all states. The course will cover different procedures for NSS setup, input preparation and extracting results on flood peaks and other streamflow statistics. Automated procedure for input preparation using Geographical Information System (GIS) web-based tools is also covered.

The following chapter provides knowledge of basic water hydrology, the role of the water cycle and precipitation to provide the statistical building blocks for the NSS program. The process of precipitation development, rainfall data collection and regression analyses are explained in detail.  The course also explores and presents a basic overview of the field of water resources engineering, hydrology and the influence of climate change and global warming on the estimation of flood-frequencies used in the NSS program.  

The effects of climate change on precipitation events with resultant impact on streamflow statistics are explained in the final section of this course. A brief history and causes for global warming and its influence on global climes is provided.  The domination of greenhouse gases in the excess production of the Earth’s atmospheric Carbon Dioxide concentration along with description of stream characteristics and flood types is also explained.