Drivers of springtime flooding in the Upper Saint John River Basin (2001–2018)

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University of New Brunswick


In this report, I assessed the role of various environmental variables in controlling springtime flooding in the upper Saint John River (SJR) basin over a seventeen-year period, from 2001–2018. There is ample research in the scientific literature that analyzes flooding, but research specific to the springtime flooding of the upper SJR is noticeably absent. The objectives of my research were to characterize waterflow behavior in the upper SJR as a function of hydrometeorological and landcover data, both acquired from independent data sources available on the world wide web, i.e., Daymet and Global Forest Watch program data, respectively. Data for the hydrometric variables for the region (i.e., discharge rate and stage height at various points along the SJR system) were acquired from Environment and Climate Change Canada. The results showed that repeated forest cover removal in the upper SJR basin had a role in increasing the risk of spring flooding. Near-ground air temperatures and cumulative snow degree-days during the snow-ablation period of each year were equally important given their role in generating meltwater and causing surges in stream and river discharge. The report displays an innovative statistical tool for land managers’ decision-making regarding waterflow dynamics in the upper SJR basin under anticipated climate change.