Managing Stormwater Runoff From Urban Areas in Consideration of Predicted Climate Change Impacts in the Mid-Atlantic Region

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Michael Williams, UMCES-CBL, Solomons, MD, United States
Mean annual temperature and precipitation in the Mid-Atlantic, USA, increased over the last century, and global climate models applied to this region generally project that these trends will continue throughout the year 2100. Higher temperatures and associated evapotranspiration may decrease total annual baseflow, even as stormflow events increase in magnitude and intensity, leading to more frequent and larger nutrient and sediment fluxes to receiving waters. Development will create more impervious surfaces, thereby increasing the ratio of stormflow to baseflow volumes. The possibility of increasing riverine flow associated with climate change this century necessitates an evaluation of various best management practices (BMPs) in urban areas to develop and utilize BMPs that optimize reductions in nutrient and sediment fluxes, as well as determine the extent to which these BMPs should be implemented. The headwaters of the Patuxent watershed are located in a highly developed urban corridor between Washington DC and Baltimore thus making it an ideal setting to explore potential climate change impacts in urban areas. Scenarios generated from a system of linked watershed and estuarine models were used to determine climate and land use change effects on Patuxent River runoff and estuarine water quality. The uncertainties of climate predictions and their implications regarding proactive mitigation approaches to manage pollutant fluxes from urban areas are discussed.