Date of Graduation

5-2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Biological Engineering (MS)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Biological and Agricultural Engineering

Advisor

Marty Matlock

Committee Member

Benjamin Runkle

Second Committee Member

Linyin Cheng

Keywords

Arkansas, climate change, geobiology, extreme precipitation events, spatio-temporal variation, urban flooding

Abstract

Climate change is having an impact on weather systems and ecosystems worldwide. Glaciers are receding, oceans are acidifying, hurricanes are stronger, and extreme precipitation is increasing in frequency. Even with the wealth of data and knowledge about the threat of climate change, some places are slow to adapt because they think that the impact to their ecosystem will not be severe. The goal of this project was to determine if climate change is having an impact on extreme precipitation in the top urban areas of Arkansas. The major concern with an increase in extreme events in urban areas is flooding. Arkansas is a landlocked state, and although some of the urban areas are centered around tributaries to the Mississippi River, frequent rainfall-induced flooding is not part of the city-subconscious when designing infrastructure. Using RClimDex, eight climate indices have been calculated to determine if climate change is having an impact on the frequency of high-intensity precipitation events. The eight indices calculated include average annual maximum temperature, average annual minimum temperature, cool days, warm days, total annual precipitation, maximum consecutive five-day precipitation amount, number of heavy precipitation days, and very wet days. A nationwide study has determined that stormwater infrastructure throughout the United States is obsolete in the face of climate change, and these indices seek to determine if there is cause for concern in Arkansas. The results indicate that for the majority of the top urban areas in Arkansas, the frequency of high-intensity precipitation events is increasing, and therefore, additional research into extreme rainfall’s impact on urban flooding in Arkansas is necessary.

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