NWRRI article by Nicole Damon
We asked graduate student Crystal DuBose about her current studies and her plans for the future. Here’s what she had to say:
What field are you currently studying and what sparked your interest in that field?
I am currently studying hydrogeology for my master’s degree. The extreme nature of floods, hurricanes, and droughts and the processes that generate such environmental hazards sparked my curiosity in hydrology. I chose hydrogeology for my master’s because I like that it provides a more mathematical approach for solving water related issues.
What research project are you currently working on and what research are you doing?
The research project I’m working on is titled “Estimating Future Flood Frequency for Regions in the Southwest.” The goal of this project is to try to predict how often it will flood in the future (i.e., for the time period 2041-2070) because of climate change. To accomplish this task, we are developing a simple yet effective statistical model that correlates extreme precipitation events with flood frequency events. Currently, we are looking at the Virgin River watershed, but we hope to apply this model to other Southwestern locations—such as the Colorado River Basin and southern Nevada—where flash flooding is a recurring issue.
What have you learned from working on this project?
I have learned more about the statistical methods used when developing a design storm and performing a regional frequency analysis, such as distribution type, exceedance probability, return periods, and hypothesis testing. Furthermore, analyzing hydrological time series in a high temporal resolution required me to learn programming languages such as C++ and Python.
What have you enjoyed most about working on this project?
Working as a team to solve future flooding issues is what makes this project most enjoyable. It’s gratifying to know our research will potentially be beneficial to the hydrologic community and possibly affect the decisions agencies and water managers make to properly prepare for future flooding events.
What are your goals for the next step in your career?
I hope that eventually I will get a job with the Southern Nevada Water Authority, National Water Resources Association, or USGS.
Read the full Nevada Water Resources Research Institute (NWRRI) Newsletter
Visit the website: www.dri.edu/nwrri