Title Climate Variability and Uncertainty in Flood Hazard Planning in Colorado
Type Research Project
Abstract The goal of this project is to develop improved methods of estimating local risks of the extreme warm season rainfall that causes severe floods in the Colorado Front Range. To be useful, the information must be accepted within the regulatory process and tailored to the needs of policy makers, floodplain administrators, and technical experts. Therefore the project has two major components: (1) to learn how scientific information and uncertainty are incorporated into flood-related decision making and regulation, and (2) to develop improved methods of estimating precipitation frequencies through meteorological analysis and use of extreme value statistics. This project, headed by Mary Downton, is part of the NCAR Initiative on the Science of Weather and Impact Assessment, and involves ESIG scientists Rebecca Morss and Olga Wilhelmi, along with collaborators from CGD and the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. A description of the project can be found in a presentation to the American Meteorological Society in February 2003 entitled: Problems of Climate Variability and Uncertainty in Flood Hazard Planning for the Colorado Front Range.
Participants Mary Downton
Rebecca Morss
Olga Wilhelmi
Start Date
Keywords Colorado
Extreme Climate
Extreme Precipitation
Floodplain Management
Natural Hazards
Research Themes Use of Scientific Information in Decision Processes
Vulnerability, Adaptation, Thresholds and Resilience
Integrated Science and Regional Applications


"Because the pathway to sustainability cannot be charted in advance, it will have to be navigated through trial and error and conscious experimentation. The urgent need is to design strategies and institutions that can better integrate incomplete knowledge with experimental action into programs of adaptive management and social learning."
NRC, Our Common Journey (1999)