• Estimating flood peak flows in the North Slope watersheds
    • Alexa Hinzman (M.S. Candidate, Civil and Environmental Engineering)
    • November 04, 2016

Estimating peak flows in the Alaska North Slope (ANS) watersheds provides essential information for constructing and maintaining Arctic infrastructure in a changing climate. Evaluating which climatic and landscape factors control peak flows in ANS watersheds is fundamental in creating statistical regression equations to predict peak flows.

Using the historic data collected by the WERC and USGS for the four watersheds along the Dalton Highway, multiple regression analysis is used to identify independent variables and to correlate peak flows. The four studied watersheds cover a large section of the Arctic, from the Brooks Range to the Arctic coastal plain.

South of the Kuparuk River, there is Roche Moutonnée, a high gradient watershed with an elevation of 927 meters. The Upper Kuparuk watershed is located in the rolling hills with permafrost thickness being about 250 meters deep and between Roche Moutonnée and Putuligayuk River. Imnavait Creek is a smaller watershed that abuts Upper Kuparuk watershed. It also holds the distinct honor of being the oldest site in the Kuparuk watershed being currently monitored by WERC. The most northern watershed is the Putuligayuk River on the coastal plain of the North Slope. It has the lowest gradient system of them all, the elevation varies from 60 m in headwaters to sea level at the mouth.

USGS recently updated procedures on predicting flood magnitude and flood frequency at gaged and ungaged watersheds in Canada and Alaska. It is the objective of the research to contribute in this vein of study and to better represent flood peak flows estimates in the Northern Alaska.

 

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