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Open AccessArticle

Evaluating Future Flood Scenarios Using CMIP5 Climate Projections

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Southern Illinois University, 1230 Lincoln Drive, Carbondale, IL 62901, USA
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Construction, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV 89154-4015, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2018, 10(12), 1866;
Received: 30 October 2018 / Revised: 7 December 2018 / Accepted: 13 December 2018 / Published: 17 December 2018
PDF [3900 KB, uploaded 17 December 2018]


Frequent flooding events in recent years have been linked with the changing climate. Comprehending flooding events and their risks is the first step in flood defense and can help to mitigate flood risk. Floodplain mapping is the first step towards flood risk analysis and management. Additionally, understanding the changing pattern of flooding events would help us to develop flood mitigation strategies for the future. This study analyzes the change in streamflow under different future carbon emission scenarios and evaluates the spatial extent of floodplain for future streamflow. The study will help facility managers, design engineers, and stakeholders to mitigate future flood risks. Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) forcing-generated Coupled Model Intercomparison Project phase 5 (CMIP5) streamflow data were utilized for the future streamflow analysis. The study was done on the Carson River near Carson City, an agricultural area in the desert of Nevada. Kolmogorov–Smirnov and Pearson Chi-square tests were utilized to obtain the best statistical distribution that represents the routed streamflow of the Carson River near Carson City. Altogether, 97 projections from 31 models with four emission scenarios were used to predict the future flood flow over 100 years using a best fit distribution. A delta change factor was used to predict future flows, and the flow routing was done with the Hydrologic Engineering Center’s River Analysis System (HEC-RAS) model to obtain a flood inundation map. A majority of the climate projections indicated an increase in the flood level 100 years into the future. The developed floodplain map for the future streamflow indicated a larger inundation area compared with the current Federal Emergency Management Agency’s flood inundation map, highlighting the importance of climate data in floodplain management studies. View Full-Text
Keywords: flood; streamflow; CMIP5; climate change; HEC-RAS flood; streamflow; CMIP5; climate change; HEC-RAS

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Nyaupane, N.; Thakur, B.; Kalra, A.; Ahmad, S. Evaluating Future Flood Scenarios Using CMIP5 Climate Projections. Water 2018, 10, 1866.

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