Seventh Annual AMS Student Conference


Effects of land cover characteristics on urban hydrological systems: an analysis for the Colorado Front Range

Armand D. Silva, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA; and D. J. Gochis

Colorado's Front Range region is experiencing rapid growth in population, and therefore significant changes in land cover characteristics, in an already flood-prone environment. To observe the effects these changes have had on urban hydrology patters, an analysis of land cover change between 1992 and 2001 was performed, in addition to a comparison of stream inflow values between the two years and between different watersheds. Land cover data for 1992 and 2001 were downloaded and reclassified. These data were processed through the Noah-Distributed Hydrologic Model to obtain idealized streamflow values. Watersheds were then defined using data from the HYDRO 1K North America Dataset and the National Hydrography Dataset, and then overlaid on top of urban masks for 1992 and 2001. Urban land cover and storm runoff values were summed for each watershed. All city areas, with the exception of Boulder, experienced an increase in urban land area between the two years. All city areas, with the exception of Denver, experienced a decrease in total storm runoff between the two years. It was anticipated that increasing urban land area would result in an increase of storm runoff for a particular location. Therefore, only Denver and Boulder followed the expected correlations between change in urban land area and change in storm runoff between 1992 and 2001. More studies using other analytical approaches must be carried out in order to understand the processes occurring within the region. Interpretation of these further studies would aid in diagnosing areas of risk for future flash flooding events.

Poster Session 1, Student Conference General Poster Session
Sunday, 20 January 2008, 5:30 PM-7:00 PM, Exhibit Hall B

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