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How increased flooding due to climate change impacts waterways across U.S.

Image of Durrelle Scott and his graduate student taking water samples on the New River as part of his research that uses data to examine how climate change has impacted flooding in the U.S. Credit: Virginia Tech There’s a tendency in modern America to think of flooding as nothing but dangerous, a threat to homes, farms, roads, and bridges. But flooding—when the waters of a river rise above the banks and inundate the nearby land—is a natural phenomenon that benefits wildlife habitat and has been crucial for human civilizations ever since the first ones relied on the flooding of the Tigris, Euphrates, and Nile rivers to irrigate their crops.

Durelle Scott, an associate professor of Biological Systems Engineering affiliate of the Global Change Center at Virginia Tech, is the lead author of a paper recently published in the academic journal Nature Communications that examines flooding in the continental United States in nearly unprecedented detail. Scott and his co-authors looked at what Scott calls “everyday” flooding in streams and rivers of all sizes, using data from 5,800 flood monitoring stations operated by the United States Geological Survey. With measurements typically taken every 15 minutes or every 30 minutes, that amounted to […]

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