waterloop #147: Measuring the Yellowstone Flood

 
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As an historic flood devastated Yellowstone National Park and downstream communities in Montana, the U.S. Geological Survey was busy measuring streamflows, monitoring equipment, sharing data, and even making repairs in the field. Early data shows the flood could be a one in 500-year event and the gauge just outside the park measured water levels 50 percent higher than the previous record.

The role and response of USGS during these storms is discussed in this episode with Katherine Chase, surface water specialist at the USGS Wyoming-Montana Water Science Center. She says that trends show increases in peak flow over the years, a possible indication of how climate change is bringing more intense rainfall and melting snowpack more rapidly in the Yellowstone area. Katherine also talks about how to accurately describe the frequency of flood events and the ways USGS coordinates its science with other federal agencies.

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