Future Flooding in Houston: Modeling the Impacts of Climate and Land Cover Change on Hydrology in the Buffalo-San Jacinto Watershed
MetadataShow full item record
Understanding the hydrology of a watershed is essential for both water resource management and public safety, especially flood prevention and mitigation. Both climate change and urbanization have been shown to increase flooding, especially in urbanized watersheds such as the Buffalo-San Jacinto in southeast Texas. Understanding future changes in this watershed will help city planners in the Houston metropolitan area make decisions about the safety of populations during flooding events. Much of the current literature examines only the impact of urbanization or climate change on the hydrologic cycle, but does not consider the joint impact of projected changes. This study performs a sensitivity analysis to examine how future changes land use and precipitation will influence hydrology in the Houston area by using the Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) macroscale hydrologic model. Climate change scenarios are used to adjust historical precipitation data while land cover is simulated for increased urbanization. The model demonstrated that the increases in these factors cause an increase in runoff, and thereby peak flow and discharge, within the Buffalo-San Jacinto watershed, and that LULC change has a larger impact upon annual runoff while climate change appears to have a greater effect on individual storm events. This means that flooding events will be more frequent and severe, and that occupants close to waterways within the watershed should account for changes in the areas of engineering and property insurance rates.
Buffalo-San Jacinto Watershed
Blount, William Kyle (2013). Future Flooding in Houston: Modeling the Impacts of Climate and Land Cover Change on Hydrology in the Buffalo-San Jacinto Watershed. Honors and Undergraduate Research. Available electronically from