2014 Research Experience for Undergrads
My name is Brittany Hailey, and I am a senior Meteorology major from Jackson State University in Jackson, MS. This summer I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Jeff Arnold and the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to perform statistical analysis on watershed data for USACE’s climate vulnerability assessment. USACE and the US Geological Survey (USGS) collect watershed data to determine how climate change affects fluctuations in runoff, not just fluctuations in precipitation. All analyses will be used to support implementation of the 2014 USACE guidance on qualitative assessment of inland hydrology performance under climate-changed futures and development of future guidance on quantitative assessment of climate change impacts to water infrastructure and programs. Phase 1 of the analysis determines whether climate change is significant to project objectives and design. If climate change is significant to objectives and design, available resources are utilized to identify future impacts and plans of action. Basic statistical analyses may be performed in this stage, although the qualitative approach does not aim to produce numerical results. Statistical analyses are used to identify directional changes, not magnitude changes, of climate variability.
For this project, I collected annual max flow data from USGS’s National Streamflow Information Program (NSIP) Federal Streamgage Network (roughly 4,500 gages), organized data according to HUC-4 classifications, and ran statistical tests on the annual max flow data to determine reliability and errors in streamflow data. All tests were run in R. The tests performed were the Pettitt Test for homogeneity, the Anderson-Darling Test for normality, the Chi-Squared Test for statistical independence, and the Breusch-Pagan Test for heteroskedasticity.
The statistical tests run in this project are only a few of the analysis tools to be used in the ongoing USACE vulnerability assessment. This is just one of many steps to build effective qualitative (and future quantitative) tools in the future to aid in making assessments for hydrological projects, including hydropower, recreation sites, harbors, dams, inland waterways, and emergency response efforts. Tools will continue to be added to the Guidance, which is sent to all 43 USACE departments for implementation into future projects and plans. This project will also aid in an effort to get all data and analyses to run in Tableau, a graphical, so that data is more readily accessible and easily understood through use of visuals.
Although the majority of my work happened behind a computer screen, my summer did not end there. I was able to do many fun and new things, such as going to Mt. Rainier, helping with my first ever CTD rosette deployment, and kayaking, just to name a few. Overall, it was an amazing summer that I will remember forever.
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