Research and Applications Needs in Flood Hydrology Science

A Summary of the October 15, 2008 Workshop of the Planning Committee on Hydrologic Science

By William S. Logan and Laura J. Helsabeck

Planning Committee on Research Applications Needs in Flood Hydrology Science: A Workshop

Water Science and Technology Board

Board on Earth and Life Studies

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS

Washington, D.C.
www.nap.edu



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Research and Applications Needs in Flood Hydrology Science A Summary of the October 15, 2008 Workshop of the Planning Committee on Hydrologic Science By William S. Logan and Laura J. Helsabeck Planning Committee on Research Applications Needs in Flood Hydrology Science: A Workshop Water Science and Technology Board Board on Earth and Life Studies THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the Na- tional Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sci- ences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the commit- tee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. Support for this project was provided by National Aeronautics and Space Administration Grant Number NNX07AB28G. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organization or agency that pro- vided support for the project. This summary is available on the internet from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, N.W., Lockbox 285, Washington, D.C. 20055, (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313 (in the Washington metropoli- tan area); internet . Copyright 2009 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.

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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and tech- nology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scien- tific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Acad- emy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administra- tion and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the supe- rior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sci- ences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the In- stitute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associ- ate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowl- edge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, re- spectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org

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Foreword The Committee on Hydrologic Science (COHS) is a “standing committee” organized and overseen by the National Research Council’s (NRC) Water Science and Technology Board (WSTB) that addresses research and educational opportunities in the hydrologic sciences. COHS is oriented toward the scientific activity of U.S. federal agencies with programmatic interests in hydrologic research. Its objectives are to (1) provide a venue for discussion of priority research topics in the hydrologic sciences; (2) identify op- portunities for development of new National Academies studies; and (3) provide oversight of projects conducted under its auspices (COHS as presently constituted does not itself produce reports). From time to time, COHS gathers U.S. Government agency representatives and others to outline some of the key issues in hydrologic science that confront their agencies and the nation as a whole. One such issue, which began as an unpublished discussion paper titled “Hydrology from Space,” was eventu- ally recast and funded as an ad hoc study that produced the NRC consensus report “Integrating Multiscale Observations of U.S. Waters” (NRC, 2008). The workshop that is the basis of this Summary began simi- larly, and may yet lead to a traditional study. NRC workshops are organized by formally appointed planning committees. The members of this committee were Dennis Lettenmaier, University of Washington, Victor Baker, University of Arizona, and David Ford, David Ford Consulting Engineers, Sacramento. The other members of COHS, who contrib- uted to drafting of the original discussion paper and played various roles in the workshop itself, are Eric Wood (Chair), Princeton University, Daniel (Pete) Loucks, Cornell University, Emily Stanley, University of Wisconsin, Charles Vörösmarty, City University of New York, and Chunmaio Zheng, University of Alabama. This document presents the rapporteur’s summary of the forum discussions and does not necessarily reflect the views of the COHS members or other participants. Furthermore, the summary does not intend to imply agreement of COHS members or attendees with summary content either in part or in entirety. This workshop summary has been reviewed in draft form by persons chosen for their diverse perspec- tives and technical expertise in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s Report Review Committee. The purposes of this review are to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making the published summary as sound as possible and to ensure that the summary meets institutional standards of objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following for their participation in the review of this summary: Eric F. Wood, Princeton University; Gerald E. Galloway, Jr., University of Maryland; Jery R. Stedinger, Cornell University; and David T. Ford, Consultant Engineer. v

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vi Foreword Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse, nor did they see the final draft of the workshop summary before its re- lease. The review of this summary was overseen by Kenneth W. Potter, University of Wisconsin. Ap- pointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for making certain that an independent ex- amination of this summary was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this summary rests entirely with the authors and the National Research Council.

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Contents WORKSHOP BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES 1 TOPIC I: WHAT SHOULD BE THE UNDERPINNINGS AND MOTIVATING SCIENCE AND APPLICATIONS QUESTIONS IN A NEW SCIENCE OF HYDROLOGIC EXTREMES? 3 Presentation, 3 Plenary Discussion, 5 Breakout Session Report, 5 TOPIC II: WHAT CAN AND SHOULD BE THE ROLE OF NEW OBSERVING METHODS, BOTH IN SITU (INCLUDING NEW SENSOR TECHNOLOGIES) AND REMOTE SENSING? HOW MIGHT APPROACHES TO THE ESTIMATION OF HYDROLOGIC EXTREMES DIFFER BASED ON THE RICHNESS OF THE HISTORIC OBSERVATIONS? 6 Presentation, 6 Plenary Discussion, 7 Breakout Session Report, 8 TOPIC III: WHAT SHOULD BE THE INTERFACE BETWEEN THE SCIENCE OF HYDROLOGIC EXTREMES AND APPLICATIONS ISSUES, SUCH AS THE NEED TO REPLACE STANDARD METHODS, SUCH AS THOSE LAID OUT IN BULLETIN 17B AND OTHER METHODS THAT ARE BASED ON STATIONARY STATISTICAL METHODS? 10 Presentation, 10 Plenary Discussion, 11 Breakout Session Report, 11 TOPIC IV: HOW CAN ADVANCES IN TECHNIQUES FOR THE ACCURATE ANALYSIS OF ANCIENT FLOOD EVENTS AID ESTIMATION OF FUTURE FLOOD MAGNITUDES AND FREQUENCY, AND UNDERSTANDING OF THE GENERATIVE PROCESSES FOR EXTREME FLOOD PHENOMENA? 13 Presentation, 13 Plenary Discussion, 14 Breakout Session Report, 14 CONCLUDING SESSION 16 vii

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viii Contents REFERENCES 18 APPENDIX A 19 List of Participants APPENDIX B 21 Committee Biographical Information APPENDIX C 25 Agenda