Las Vegas, with its rapid urbanization and desert landscape, is highly vulnerable to flooding.
Las Vegas, with its rapid urbanization and desert landscape, is highly vulnerable to flooding. For this reason, flood managers have built an extensive system of drainage ditches and detention basins to protect the public. Now, a new study shows how intentional engineering and urban development are interacting with climate change to alter the timing and intensity of flood risk.
In a study published Jan. 6 in The Journal of Hydrometeorology, researchers from DRI, the Clark County Regional Flood Control District, the University of Wisconsin- Madison, and Guangdong University of Technology examine Las Vegas’ changing flood regime. Their results show that flood intensity has increased since the mid-20th century, with an abrupt shift occurring in the mid-1990s. Climate change has also shifted flood seasonality, with the storms and their resultant floods now occurring more frequently in winter, in contrast with the historically stronger summer monsoon season.
“When I looked at the data for annual flood peaks, I could see that something is changing,” said Guo Yu, Ph.D., lead author on the new study and hydrologist at DRI. “I wanted to understand the reason for this change as well as the physical mechanisms driving it, because that will help water managers and the public understand whether such a change will continue in the future, given climate and land use changes here.”
Read more at: Desert Research Institute
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