Precipitation extremes and the impacts of climate change on stormwater infrastructure in Washington State
Rosenberg, E.A., P.W. Keys, D.B. Booth, D. Hartley, J. Burkey, A.C. Steinemann, and D.P. Lettenmaier. 2009. Precipitation extremes and the impacts of climate change on stormwater infrastructure in Washington State. Chapter 9 in The Washington Climate Change Impacts Assessment: Evaluating Washington's Future in a Changing Climate, Climate Impacts Group, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.
Stormwater management facilities are important elements of the civil infrastructure that can be sensitive to climate change, particularly to precipitation extremes that generate peak runoff flows. The design and anticipated performance of stormwater infrastructure is based on either the presumed characteristics of a “design rainstorm” or the continuous simulation of streamflow driven by a time series of precipitation. Under either approach, a frequency distribution of precipitation is required, either directly or indirectly, together with an underlying assumption that the probability distribution of precipitation extremes is statistically stationary. This assumption, and hence both approaches, are called into question by climate change. We therefore examined both historical precipitation records and simulations of future rainfall to evaluate past and prospective changes in the
probability distributions of precipitation extremes across Washington State. The historical analyses were based on hourly precipitation records for the time period 1949–2007 from weather stations surrounding three major metropolitan areas of the state: the Puget Sound region (including Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia), the Vancouver (WA) region (including Portland, OR), and the Spokane region.
UW Climate Impacts Group