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Monday Noon Seminar - Disturbance hydrology, extreme events, and the 2013 Colorado floods

Monday, December 08, 2014, 12:00PM - 1:00PM


Brian Ebel



ARC room 620

Landscape disturbance increasingly impacts the watersheds we rely on for water resources, ecosystem services, and protection from hydrologically driven natural hazards. Abrupt alterations of hydrologic processes resulting from disturbances like wildfires, development of the built environment, resource extraction, deforestation, hurricanes, tsunamis, and landslides change the storage or buffering capacity as well as the hydrologic functional connectivity in watersheds. I will highlight some of the critical issues and major challenges to predicting disturbance impacts on water resources and natural hazards and outline some of the opportunities for improved mechanistic understanding of how disturbances propagate through landscape hydrological processes. In particular, I will
emphasize synthesis of conceptual commonalities and opportunities from other disciplines, primarily ecologic sciences, which are well versed in the study of disturbed landscapes. Improved understanding of disturbance hydrology is essential for predicting the effects of extreme hydroclimatic events on the hydrologic response of the Critical Zone. The 2013 Colorado floods provide an example of a watershed with multiple disturbances, subjected to a low frequency extreme rainfall event, exhibiting diverse runoff generation mechanisms that are not expected and challenging for predictive models.


Free and open to the public.