University of Colorado at Boulder

Colloquia Event

Friday November 08, 2013. 03:30 pm. GUGG 205

Burning Questions in Hydrology: Numerical Experiments of Post-Wildfire Hydrologic Response

Brian Ebel

University of Colorado, CIRES

Wildfire is a frequent disturbance event in the Western U.S. and other regions worldwide. It is well known that wildfire increases flash flood risk, yet the accompanying changes in subsurface hydrology and connections to water resources are poorly understood. This talk will focus on wildfire impacts on subsurface hydrology at a field site in the Colorado Front Range using unsaturated zone flow simulation for well characterized experimental plots covering north- and south-facing slope aspects for plots both affected and unaffected by wildfire to improve understanding. Comparisons to observed hydrologic data establish “foundation simulations” that lay the groundwork for virtual numerical model experiments testing hypotheses developed from interpretation of field and laboratory data. The virtual experiments with the numerical model then extend understanding beyond what could be gleaned from data alone. Unsaturated zone flow is simulated with Hydrus-1D and the field site for this work is within the area affected by the 2010 Fourmile Canyon Fire near Boulder, CO USA.

Geography colloquium series was made possible by the generous support from The Beirne Carter Foundation.