Extreme Streamflow Events in the Upper Missouri River Basin

Project Thumbnail

Extreme streamflow in the upper Missouri River Basin has become more prevalent in recent decades.  Since 1975, 9 out of the 10 most extreme streamflow years on the Missouri River Basin since 1898 have occurred.  Making use of naturalized flow data for the upper Missouri River Basin and 6 sub-basin catchments, trends in streamflow will be analyzed and compared to the main flow drivers of precipitation and snowmelt.  It was previously found (NOAA Climate Assessment Report – 2011 Missouri River Basin Flooding, 2013) that streamflow is becoming more extreme and variable, while the precipitation levels are remaining relatively constant in both mean and variability.  Through the use of the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) model, an understanding of the drivers of these extreme flow events are being analyzed.  Sensitivity experiment focusing on precipitation frequency and intensity are being performed to determine what role precipitation specifically has as a driver to these extreme events.  This project is currently in the preliminary stages, with initial findings soon to come.