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Risky Business: How Humans Will Shape Floodplain Landscapes Over the 21st Century
  • Hunter Quintal,
  • Antonia Sebastian,
  • Kathie Dello
Hunter Quintal
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Antonia Sebastian
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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Kathie Dello
North Carolina State Climate Office
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Flooding is the costliest natural hazard, globally accounting for more than 40% (2.8 billion USD) of direct damages from 1900 to 2015. While global flood risk is predicted to continue to increase overall, flood risk is highly variable at local scales and dependent on both the social and physical processes that affect the natural and built environment. Projections of flood risk at smaller scales are crucial for efforts to improve insurance markets, disaster preparedness, environmental justice, and city and regional planning. Flood risk can be quantified by integrating the dynamics of expected land use/land cover change (LULCC) and climate variability predicted under Representative Concentration Pathway forecasts at fine spatiotemporal resolutions. In this study, we present a forecast analysis of watershed-scale hydrology in the Neuse River watershed, NC from 2006 to 2100 to identify how patterns of LULCC and climate variability will influence the return period, flood peaks and volumes predicted from the 1% Annual Exceedance Probability (AEP) storms. Using the EPA’s LULCC model Integrated Climate and Land Use Scenarios (ICLUS), the CMIP5’s precipitation model of 20 regionally-downscaled Global Climate Models (GCMs), and the physically-based, distributed hydrologic model Vflo, we predict the hydrologic response of probabilistic storms through the end of the 21st century.