Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-2022

Faculty Advisor(s)

Dr. Thomas Piechota


We are analyzing streamflow extremes in Western U.S. rivers due to climate change. Global warming causes natural disasters to reach extreme points and affects river volumes, snowfall, and precipitation amounts. We analyze the data for 17 stations in the Colorado River Basin, whose rivers provide Southern California’s drinking water supply. Disruptions in streamflow due to climate change affect the region’s water availability and make it difficult to predict future trends. We compared historical streamflow data to eight possible climate scenarios. The different scenarios are Warm Dry, Cool Wet, Average, and Other at emission levels of RCP 4.5 and 8.5. First, we developed codes in RStudio to run the data, convert it to million acre-feet (MAF), and identify the amount of average flow. Next, it subtracts the mean flow from each year’s flow value to determine the deficit flow. Then, periods of drought or surplus, how much flow is associated with each time period, and the length of the period is identified. With the data, we ran t-tests and F-tests to compare results. Additionally, we created boxplots, bar graphs, and maps of the water stations using Excel and ArcGIS to visualize the data. These results help predict future water trends. Based on the historical data, we saw long periods of drought over surplus in recent years. As climate change worsens, we expect to see continuous extreme droughts in dry areas and long periods of surplus in flood areas.


Presented at the Spring 2022 Student Scholar Symposium at Chapman University.