College

Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences

Date of Last Revision

2021-04-25 16:06:11

Major

Environmental Science

Honors Course

3370:497:501/503

Number of Credits

4

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Date of Expected Graduation

Spring 2021

Abstract

From the 1910s through the 1980s, the number of intense daily precipitation events in the United States remained constant, however, since the 1980s there has been an increasing trend in intense single-day precipitation events (U.S Environmental Protection Agency, 2016). One outcome of intense precipitation events is river flooding, particularly in the upper Midwest region where floods have increased in magnitude and frequency (U.S Environmental Protection Agency, 2016). In this thesis project, recent flooding history on the Chagrin and Cuyahoga Rivers in Ohio was studied to expand on previous research that observed an abrupt increase in high magnitude flood events on the Cuyahoga River beginning in July 2003. Mean daily discharge data for the Cuyahoga and Chagrin Rivers (United States Geological Survey, 2021a) and daily precipitation data for the Chagrin River watershed (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2021) were analyzed. The two-tailed t-test showed that the mean daily discharge and mean precipitation before and after July 22, 2003 were statistically significantly different. A higher number of top 1% floods and top 10 largest floods occurred after July 22, 2003 on both the Cuyahoga River and the Chagrin River. These results correspond with the observed trend of an abrupt increase in high magnitude river flooding on the Cuyahoga River as well as the trend of increasing flood magnitude and frequency in the upper Midwest region. Mean daily discharge was higher in the winter but lower in the summer while daily precipitation was lower in the winter and higher in the summer as a result of seasonal variations in evaporation, transpiration, runoff and infiltration. Knowledge of the increasing trends in flood magnitude and frequency is important because this information can be used to help people prepare better, reduce the cost of spending on flood damage, and save lives.

Research Sponsor

Dr. John A. Peck

First Reader

Dr. Caleb Holyoke

Second Reader

Dr. John M. Senko

Honors Faculty Advisor

Dr. John A. Peck

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