Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Human activity muddies causes of Texas floods

Date:
August 8, 2013
Source:
University of Iowa
Summary:
Periodic flooding in Texas —- one the most flood-prone states in the U.S. —- cannot be firmly linked to climate change due to numerous dams and other humanmade structures introduced over the years, according to a new article.

Periodic flooding in Texas -- one the most flood-prone states in the nation -- cannot be firmly linked to climate change due to numerous dams and other humanmade structures introduced over the years, according to a University of Iowa study.

The researchers also found that tropical cyclones are less responsible for major floods in the region than in the eastern United States.

The study, which looked at 70 years of records, appears in the August 2013 issue of the Journal of the American Water Resources Association.

Lead author Gabriele Villarini, assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and assistant research engineer at IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering, indicates that although the problem is severe, the causes of Texas flooding are less clear.

"In this study, we examined the time series of the largest flood peaks every year from 62 stations in Texas with a record of at least 70 years," he says. "We were interested in examining whether flood magnitudes changed during the study period and, if so, what was the cause of these changes.

"We found that most of the changes we detected were related to human modification of the catchments and more specifically to river regulation."

He points out that there are more than 7,100 permitted dams in Texas, with some 2,000 of them designed for flood control.

"We also examined the link between flooding and tropical cyclones. Tropical cyclones are an important flood agent with regionally varying effects. However, they are not associated with the largest flood events to the same degree we found for the eastern United States," he says.

Historically, Texas experiences frequent flooding, resulting in numerous fatalities and extensive property damage. In fact, Villarini says, studies show that Texas led the nation in flood-related injuries and fatalities during the period from 1959 through 2005 and that Texas is the only state with fatalities occurring every year from 1960 through 2002.

But surprisingly, there are relatively few studies of Texas flooding focused on the long-term changes in hazardous flooding.

"Despite the large economic and societal impacts of flooding, there are few studies focusing on changes in annual maximum flood peak distribution in Texas. This is particularly important because of the possible acceleration of the hydrological cycle associated with human-induced climate change, which could potentially result in an increase of floods," he says.

Villarini says that two of his future studies will also focus on flooding and tropical cyclones and their economic impact on the continental United States.

His colleague in the study, James A. Smith, is a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Princeton University.

The paper was supported by the Willis Research Network and by a subcontract from Rutgers University, Department of Environmental Sciences, under Agreement Number G11AP20215 from the U.S. Geological Survey.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Iowa. The original article was written by Gary Galluzzo. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gabriele Villarini, James A. Smith. Flooding in Texas: Examination of Temporal Changes and Impacts of Tropical Cyclones. JAWRA Journal of the American Water Resources Association, 2013; 49 (4): 825 DOI: 10.1111/jawr.12042

Cite This Page:

University of Iowa. "Human activity muddies causes of Texas floods." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130808141629.htm>.
University of Iowa. (2013, August 8). Human activity muddies causes of Texas floods. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130808141629.htm
University of Iowa. "Human activity muddies causes of Texas floods." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130808141629.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Federal researchers are exploring more than a dozen underwater sites where they believe ships sank in the treacherous waters west of San Francisco in the decades following the Gold Rush. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) Mount Paektu volcano in North Korea is showing signs of life and there's not much known about it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins