Climate Change and Resulting Hydrologic Response: Illinois River Basin

by Krishan Singh, Illinois State Water Survey, United States,
Ganapathi S. Ramamurthy, Illinois State Water Survey, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Watershed Planning and Analysis in Action


In the last 20 years, the northern half of the Illinois River basin has been experiencing a wetter and cooler climate. This climate change has significantly increased Illinois River flows and flood peaks, resulting higher ground-water levels in levee-protected farmlands; increased bank erosion; increased flood levels and frequency of flooding; and increased flood damages. Analysis of annual precipitation data at 30 longterm raingage stations in the Illinois River basin show an increase of about 14% in the last 20 years compared to the previous 60 years in the northern half of the basin. The corresponding increase in the four-month period (March through June) precipitation is about 25%. The seasonal increase in precipitation leads to considerably higher seasonal flows and flood peaks because of generally more favorable runoff conditions. The hydrologic response to the climate change is quite pronounced. Not only the magnitude of high flows but also the durations of specified high flows have increased.

Subject Headings: Rivers and streams | Flood frequency | Climate change | Basins | River flow | Precipitation | Seasonal variations | Illinois | United States

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