SERDP and ESTCP Webinar: Adapting to Changes in the Hydrologic Cycle under Non-Stationary Climate Conditions

This SERDP and ESTCP webinar focuses on DoD-funded research to assess how climate change affects extreme precipitation and improve installation infrastructure resilience. Specifically, investigators will discuss the development of Intensity-Duration-Frequency (IDF) values that incorporate future climate change, as well as updated storm and flood IDF curves for military installations to review and revise current stormwater design standards.  


Webinar #141 (10/07/2021)

Adapting to Changes in the Hydrologic Cycle under Non-Stationary Climate Conditions 

Dr. Kenneth Kunkel, North Carolina State University/North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies 

Dr. Yonas Demissie, Washington State University 

October 7, 2021

12:00 PM ET (9:00 AM PT)


“The Incorporation of Future Climate Change into Intensity-Duration-Frequency (IDF) curves” by Dr. Kenneth Kunkel ( SERDP Project Overview, RC-2517

There is high confidence that anthropogenically-forced climate change will increase the frequency and intensity of extreme rainfall events. Rainfall intensity-duration-frequency (IDF) curves are used to assess rainfall events and have many applications in water resources engineering, management, and infrastructure design. This presentation will focus on a methodology for incorporating future climate changes into IDF curves using two different approaches to estimate the effect of climate change on rainfall events. This project produced climate change adjusted IDF values for most areas of the United States.  Climate change adjusted IDF values can be used to understand what infrastructure is vulnerable and where to invest to prevent future disruptions from infrastructure failure.  


“Rainfall and Runoff Intensity-Duration-Frequency in the Face of Climate Change and Uncertainty” by Dr. Yonas Demissie ( SERDP Project Overview, RC-2514

The Department of Defense (DoD) recognizes increasing flood events at military bases as a national security threat with potential impacts on installations, mission, and operations. A recent DoD report found that two-thirds of the military bases are vulnerable to flooding, making it critical to update and design new stormwater facilities using improved characterization of storm IDFs and associated floods. The primary objective of this project is to revise and update the storm and flood IDF curves for selected military installations by inferring the changes in future storm and flood events, the effect of snowmelt, and uncertainties. Regional frequency analysis coupled with Bayesian uncertainty quantification were used to update the rainfall IDF curves, which are then used in a newly developed hydrologic model to estimate the runoff IDF curves and assess the vulnerability of military installations to flooding. The resultant grid-based rainfall and runoff IDF curves provide reliable, forward-looking, and spatially resolved characteristics of storm events and flooding risks for thorough review and update of the current stormwater design standards. An interactive web-based geographic information system (GIS) interface was developed containing tabulated and geo-referenced IDF data and figures. This presentation will describe the project’s technical approach and demonstrate the updated IDF results and the GIS web interface. 

Speaker Biographies

Dr. Kenneth Kunkel is a research professor of atmospheric sciences at North Carolina State University and lead scientist for assessments with the North Carolina Institute for Climate Studies. Dr. Kunkel is an author on the Third and Fourth U.S. National Climate Assessments, and he has published over 170 scientific journal articles and book chapters. He earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Southern Illinois University, and master’s and doctoral degree in meteorology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  


Dr. Yonas Demissie is an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Washington State University. His current researchfocuses on stochastic hydrology, hydro-climatology, data mining, machine learning, and stormwater management. Dr. Demissie served as a principal investigator on multiple research projects focused on climate change and frequency analyses of floods and droughts. He has authored several articles and book chapters. Previously, Dr. Demissie was a postdoctoral research associate in the Environmental Science Division at Argonne National Laboratory. He received a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering from Haramaya University in Ethiopia, a master’s degree in water resources engineering and hydrology from Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium, and a doctoral degree in civil engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  

Past Webinars

Featured Initiatives

The latest developments in science, engineering, and technology.

Explore Featured Initiatives

Program Areas

SERDP and ESTCP’s complete investment portfolio.

Explore Program Areas