Investigating impacts of projected climate change on flood risk in urban areas located along river channels

Adriana Arcelay and Hoshin Gupta

Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences
The University of Arizona

Hurricane Florence, which generated flooding in the Carolinas in 2018, caused an estimated $38 - 50 billion1 in property damage. There is scientific data supporting the hypothesis that the intensity of natural disasters is increasing, as are the associated damages. The goal of this project is to evaluate how increases in monsoon intensity might influence the risk of potential flooding in urban areas located along rivers. To accomplish this, an ArcMap model was created for a 588,800-acre watershed located approximately 90% in Pima County and 10% in Santa Cruz County. The river of interest in the watershed, Finger Rock Wash, runs through a residential area. In October 1983, Tucson received heavy rain and caused what is considered to be a 100-year storm. The watershed was generated using the automated geospatial watershed assessment (AGWA) tool in ArcMap. Data from this storm event was used to simulate the watershed in ArcMap via the kinematic runoff and erosion (KINEROS 2) model. Present and future precipitation data entered into the model were based on a 24-hour, 100-year event. KINEROS 2 returns flowrates from which water level depths can be determined. An assessment conducted on three different data sets obtained from various storms with the same occurrence interval provides indications of expected flood risk.


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