Planning & Management

Oral

397843 - Climate risk assessment of the lower Susquehanna River water resources system

Monday, June 4
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
Location: Greenway GH
Co-Authors: Jazmin Salazar, Ithaca, NY – Cornell University; Julianne Quinn, Ithaca, NY – Cornell University; Matthew Koszuta, Ashland, Wisconsin – Northland College; Vivek Srikrishnan, University Park, PA – The Pennsylvania State University; Patrick Reed, Ithaca, NY – Cornell University; Klaus Keller, University Park, PA – The Pennsylvania State University

Surface water systems frequently serve competing purposes, such as supplying water to multiple sectors or maintaining water supply while managing floods. Though hydrologic nonstationarity has been widely acknowledged as a potential disruption to water-reliant systems, there is a disparity between projections of climate variables that are typically used to inform water management and the hydrologic variability that most strongly impacts performance. We present a systems analysis framework for navigating the potential influence of climate change on water resources systems. The analysis is based on a novel, synthetic nonstationary streamflow generator framed around hydrologic persistence and flood hydrograph dynamics with Sobol’ sensitivity analysis. The streamflow generator’s parameters are conditioned on the state of synoptic-scale climate patterns. We demonstrate the framework through a case study on the Lower Susquehanna River surface water management system and the Conowingo Dam, which is operated for water supply, hydropower generation, atomic power plant cooling, and environmental flow requirements. In addition, the dam plays a role in regulating flooding downstream. We then analyze the representation of climate conditions associated with increased likelihood of challenging management scenarios in future climate projections. Results are communicated using visual analytics designed to enable stakeholders and water managers to engage together on planning activities.

Caitlin Spence, MS, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar
The Pennsylvania State University

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