Veronica Webster Griffis

PhD, Cornell University

Fall 2014 Course Web Pages

CE3710: Uncertainty Analysis for Engineers

CE4620: River & Floodplain Hydraulics

CE/ENVE5630: Advanced Hydrology


 

Associate Professor, Water Resources

CEE Graduate Program Director

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering,
Michigan Technological University.
1400 Townsend Drive

Houghton, MI 49931

 

 

Office: 865 DOW

Tel: 906-487-1079

Fax: 906-487-2943

E-mail: vgriffis@mtu.edu





[ Education | Research | Teaching | Publications | Honors/Affiliations ]


Education

Ph.D. Civil Engineering, Cornell University. 2006

Major: Environmental & Water Resources Systems Engineering

Minors: Hydrology and Natural Resource Economics

Dissertation: Flood Frequency Analysis: Bulletin 17, Regional Information, and Climate Change

Advisor: Jery R. Stedinger, Ph.D.

M.S. Civil Engineering, Cornell University. 2003

Thesis: Evaluation of Log-Pearson Type 3 Flood Frequency Analysis Methods Addressing Regional Skew and Low Outliers

Advisor: Jery R. Stedinger, Ph.D.

B.S. Civil Engineering, Magna cum Laude, University of Vermont, 2001


Research Interests

My research interests are related to flood frequency analysis and the evaluation of other extreme events.  In particular, I am interested in the impacts of climate variability, climate change and land use changes on the magnitude, frequency, and timing of flood flows.  The effects of such changes on stream ecology and water quality are also of interest.  Other projects I am currently working on involve the use of regional information and regression methods to improve flood quantile estimates at site and for quantile estimation at ungauged sites.

Current Funding

NSF EAR-1053655: May 2011 – April 2016

CAREER: Flood Risk Projections with Climatic Variation and Human-Induced Shifts in Hydrologic Response

A large portion of the U.S. population, infrastructure, and industry is located in flood prone areas; however, structural and nonstructural strategies [e.g., the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)] used to reduce the economic, social, and environmental impacts of floods continue to be based on static estimates of flood risk despite the documented influence of urbanization and climatic variation on flood peaks. Thus, the current challenge is to create a statistical framework to project future flood risk that accounts for natural climate variability, potential climate change, and impending land use changes. In view of this need, the objectives of this research are: to develop and test methods that extend traditional statistical flood risk models to project future flood risk, and to determine the relative impacts of climatic variation and anthropogenic activities on flood risk under future scenarios of climate change, land use, and emissions in the Northeastern United States. This study region was chosen because it includes a range of flood generating mechanisms, and connections between flood peaks and oceanic-atmospheric patterns have been identified therein. These research objectives will be achieved through a combination of observation-based statistical models that use extant data and physically-based hydrologic models that simulate flood series under future scenarios.

The benefits to society from this project will flow from the creation of a physical-causal based statistical framework for flood risk projection. This framework, combined with knowledge of the relative impacts of climatic variation and anthropogenic activities on flood risk under future scenarios, will provide the groundwork for new advances in water resources management. The framework could be used to develop a stochastic NFIP, and would facilitate impact assessments, such as analysis of the implications associated with land use planning and management scenarios. In addition, this project will: increase K-12 student awareness to the consequences of human activities on hydrologic processes, increase K-12 student interest in science and engineering careers, and increase undergraduate student interest to pursue advanced science and engineering degrees.  These outcomes will be accomplished through the integration of research and educational student experiences at high school, undergraduate, and graduate levels. In particular, field trips for area ninth grade students will be held throughout the duration of the project, an interactive web module and corresponding lesson plan will be developed for use beyond completion of this project, graduate and undergraduate students will participate in outreach activities, and research themes will be integrated into undergraduate water resources coursework. Special efforts toward recruiting and retaining women will be made through outreach activities and positive mentoring of summer undergraduate researchers.

Other Ongoing Projects

Incorporating Climate Change and Variability into the Bulletin 17B LP3 Model
The current techniques for flood frequency analysis presented in Bulletin 17B assume annual maximum floods are stationary, meaning that the distribution of flood flows is not significantly affected by climatic trends or long-term cycles (i.e. decadal variations).  Observed trends in stream flows raise concern as to whether or not this assumption is valid.  This project considers how the Bulletin 17B framework might be modified to account for nonstationarity in flood records due to climate variability.  In order to improve estimates/forecasts obtained using the LP3 model, the effects of climate variability may be incorporated into updated estimates of the mean, standard deviation, and perhaps the skew by regressing the LP3 parameters on climatic indices describing the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and Northern Atlantic Oscillation.  The effects of climatic cycles occurring over a shorter time frame, such as El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) are averaged into estimates made using the procedures of Bulletin 17B.  However, the effects of ENSO are likely to affect the magnitude of annual maximum stream flows, and thus would impact flood risk in a given year. ENSO effects are incorporated into forecasts by regressing the LP3 parameters on sea surface temperatures.

Application of Expected Moments Algorithm (EMA) with Historical Information, Low Outliers, and Regional Skew

The Federal guidelines for flood frequency analysis described by Bulletin 17B employ three separate procedures to reflect historical flood information, to account for censored low outliers, and to introduce regional skew.  Further, the identification of outliers and the moments of the final fitted log-Pearson type 3 (LP3) distribution are dependent on the order in which these procedures are employed.  Alternatively, the recently developed expected moments algorithm (EMA) for the LP3 distribution combines these three steps into one consistent analysis.  Previous studies have demonstrated that EMA does as well as maximum likelihood estimators at estimating LP3 flood quantiles using historical information.  EMA is also more efficient than the Bulletin 17B historically weighted moments algorithm, and can incorporate a wider range of historical information, including thresholds that were never exceeded, and floods whose values are described by intervals.  Modest differences have been observed in the performance of EMA for low outlier adjustments relative to the Bulletin 17B conditional probability adjustment.  Still, an analysis is needed of the performance of the EMA procedure which simultaneously employs historical information, regional skew information, and adjustments for any low outliers.

Previous Funding

Delineation of Hydrologically Homogeneous Regions using Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems

NSF IRES-0854050: March 2009 – February 2012

Collaborative Technology Innovation for Public Health Improvements in Tanzania 

The overall goal of this project is to identify appropriate technologies to solve Tanzanian public health issues connected to potable water supplies, sanitation, indoor air pollution, and malaria.  This project provides international research opportunities (10 weeks on site) for Michigan Tech graduate students who are partnered with engineering students of the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. 

NSF S-STEM-0806569: June 2008 – August 2012

Graduate Student Scholarships to Advance a Global Outlook of Economic and Social Prosperity that Protects the Environment 

Goals of the project include recruiting and retaining students into STEM fields, the creation of a non-traditional flow of knowledge between Ph.D. students and M.S. students, and the promotion of peer mentoring between Ph.D. and M.S. students.  The project is currently in Year 3 and has provided a total of 33 one-year scholarships (42% female participation).

 


Teaching

CE 3620: Water Resources Engineering (Spring 2010/2011/2012/2013/2014)

CE 3710: Uncertainty Analysis in Engineering (Fall 2010/2011/2012/2013)

CE 4620: Open Channel Flow (Fall 2007)

CE 4620: River & Floodplain Hydraulics (Fall 2008/2009/2011/2012/2013)

CE 4990: Probability & Statistics for Civil Engineers (Spring 2009)

CE 5620: Stochastic Hydrology (Spring 2008, Fall 2010, Spring 2012/2013/2014)

CE 5666: Water Resources Planning and Management (Fall 2006)

CE 5690: Stochastic Hydrology (Spring 2007)

CE 5690: Descriptive Modeling of Data (Spring 2008)

Instruction at Cornell University - CEE 304: Uncertainty Analysis in Engineering (Fall 2005)

 



Publications

Refereed Journal Publications

Gyawali, R., D. W. Watkins, V. W. Griffis, and B. M. Lofgren (2014). “Energy Budget Considerations for Hydro-climatic Impact Assessment in Great Lakes Watersheds,” Journal of Great Lakes Research, in press. DOI: 10.1016/j.jglr.2014.09.005

Gyawali, R., V. W. Griffis, D. W. Watkins, and N. M. Fennessey (2014). “Regional Regression Models for Hydro-Climate Change Impact Assessment,” Hydrological Processes, in press.

Ilorme, F., V. W. Griffis, and D. W. Watkins (2014). “Regional Rainfall Frequency and Ungaged Basin Analysis for Flood Risk Assessment in Haiti,” Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, 19(1), 123-132. DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)HE.1943-5584.0000757

Ilorme, F. and V. W. Griffis (2013). “A Novel Procedure for Delineation of Hydrologically Homogeneous Regions and the Classification of Ungauged Sites for Design Flood Estimation,” Journal of Hydrology, DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2013.03.045.

Dawdy, D. R., V. W. Griffis, and V. K. Gupta (2012). “Regional flood frequency analysis: How we got here and where we are going,” Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, 17(9), 953-959.

Stedinger, J. R. and V. W. Griffis (2011). Getting From Here to Where? Flood Frequency Analysis and Climate. JAWRA Journal of the American Water Resources Association, 47: 506–513. DOI: 10.1111/j.1752-1688.2011.00545.x

Griffis, V. W. and J. R. Stedinger (2009). Reply to comment by D. Rao on The log-Pearson type 3 distribution and its application in flood frequency analysis, 2. Parameter Estimation Methods. Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, 14(2), 121-130.

Griffis, V. W. and J. R. Stedinger (2009). The log-Pearson type 3 distribution and its application in flood frequency analysis, 3. Sample Skew and Weighted Skew Estimators. Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, 14(2), 209-212.

Stedinger, J. R. and V. W. Griffis (2008). Flood frequency analysis in the United States: Time to Update. Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, 13(4), 199-204. (editorial)

Griffis, V. W. and J. R. Stedinger (2007). The use of GLS regression in regional hydrologic analyses. Journal of Hydrology, 344(1-2), 82-95.

Griffis, V. W. and J. R. Stedinger (2007). The log-Pearson type 3 distribution and its application in flood frequency analysis, 2. Parameter estimation methods. Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, 12(5), 492-500.

Griffis, V. W. and J. R. Stedinger (2007). The log-Pearson type 3 distribution and its application in flood frequency analysis, 1. Distribution characteristics. Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, 12(5), 482-491.

Griffis, V. W. and J. R. Stedinger (2007). Evolution of flood frequency analysis with Bulletin 17. Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, 12(3), 283-297.

Griffis, V. W., J. R. Stedinger, and T. A. Cohn (2004). LP3 quantile estimators with regional skew information and low outlier adjustments. Water Resources Research, vol.40, W07503, doi:1029/2003WR002697.

 

In review

LaFond, K. M., V. W. Griffis, and P. Spellman, “Use of the SWAT Hydrologic Model to Assess Flood Risk under Climate Change Conditions,” Journal of the American Water Resources Association, submitted May 2014.

 


Conference Proceedings

LaFond, K., V. W. Griffis, and P. Spellman (2014). “Forcing Hydrologic Models with GCM Output: Bias Correction vs. the “Delta Change” Method,” World Water & Environmental Resources Congress, Portland, Oregon, June 1-5, 2014. American Society of Civil Engineers.

Perlinger, J. A., K. G. Paterson, A. S. Mayer, V. W. Griffis, and K. L. Holles (2013). “Assessment of a Sustainability Program in Graduate Civil and Environmental Engineering Education,” Proceedings. 43rd Annual Meeting of the Frontiers in Education Conference, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, October 23-26, 2013.

Salvadori, N. and V. W. Griffis (2013). “Evaluation of the Influence of Climate Variability on Flood Risk in Moderately Impaired Watersheds,” World Water & Environmental Resources Congress, Cincinnati, Ohio, May 19-23, 2013. American Society of Civil Engineers.

Gyawali, R., D. W. Watkins, and V. W. Griffis (2012). “Climate Downscaling using Regional Regression and Physically Based Watershed Models,” World Water & Environmental Resources Congress, Albuquerque, New Mexico, May 20-24, 2012. American Society of Civil Engineers.

Ilorme, F. and V. W. Griffis (2010). “Assessment of Hydrological and Physical Similarity in Southeastern Watersheds”, in proceedings World Water & Environmental Resources Congress 2010, Providence, Rhode Island, May 16-20, 2010.

Ilorme, F. and V. W. Griffis (2009). “Providing a Physical Basis for Statistical Homogeneity in Regional Frequency Analyses”, in proceedings World Water & Environmental Resources Congress 2009, Edited by S. Starrett, American Society of Civil Engineers, Reston, Virginia.

Griffis, V. W. (2008). “EMA with historical information, low outliers, and regional skew”, in proceedings World Water & Environmental Resources Congress 2008, Editors R. W. Babcock and R. Walton, American Society of Civil Engineers, Reston, Virginia.

Kashelikar, A. S. and V. W. Griffis (2008). “Forecasting flood risk with Bulletin 17B LP3 model and climate variability”, in proceedings World Water & Environmental Resources Congress 2008, Editors R. W. Babcock and R. Walton, American Society of Civil Engineers, Reston, Virginia.

Watkins, D. W. and V. W. Griffis (2008). “Conditioning ensemble streamflow prediction forecasts using climate signals in the Midwestern U.S.”, in proceedings World Water & Environmental Resources Congress 2008, Editors R. W. Babcock and R. Walton, American Society of Civil Engineers, Reston, Virginia.

Griffis, V. W. and J. R. Stedinger (2007). “Value of regional information using Bulletin 17B and LP3 distribution”, Paper 40927-2319, World Environmental & Water Resources Conference - Restoring our Natural Habitat, K.C. Kabbes editor, Tampa, Florida, May 15-18, 2007.

Griffis, V. W. and J. R. Stedinger (2007). “Incorporating climate change and variability into Bulletin 17B LP3 model”, Paper 40927-2320, World Environmental & Water Resources Conference - Restoring our Natural Habitat, K.C. Kabbes editor, Tampa, Florida, May 15-18, 2007.

Stedinger, J. R. and V. W. Griffis (2006). “Evolution of Bulletin 17B for flood frequency analysis in the United States”, in proceedings World Water and Environmental Resources Congress 2006, ASCE, Reston, VA.

Griffis, V. W. and J. R. Stedinger (2005). “The LP3 distribution and its use for flood frequency analysis”, World Water Congress 2005: Impacts of Global Climate Change, Raymond Walton (ed.), Anchorage, Alaska, May 15-19, 2005, doi:10.1061/40792(173)496.

Griffis, V. W. and J. R. Stedinger (2004). “LP3 flood quantile estimators using at-site and regional information,” Critical Transitions in Water and Environmental Resources Management, Proceedings World Water & Environmental Resources Congress, Salt Lake City, Utah, June 27 - July 1, 2004. Edited by G. Sehlke, D.F., Hayes and D. K. Stevens, American Society of Civil Engineers, Reston, Virginia.

Griffis, V. W., J. R. Stedinger, and T. A. Cohn (2003). “Extension of EMA to address regional skew and low outliers,” Proceedings World Water & Environmental Resources Congress 2003, June 23-26. Paper # 816. Editors P. Bizier and P. DeBarry, Philadelphia, PA, American Society of Civil Engineers, Reston, Virginia.

Other Presentations

Griffis, V. W. (2014). “Panel Discussion: Adapting to Change: Managing Risk and Uncertainty for Resilience and Disaster Preparedness (invited),” 7th World Water Forum Symposium, North American Regional Event at the 2014 World Environmental and Water Resources Congress, Portland, OR, June 2, 2014.

Griffis, V. W. (2013). “Assessment of Regional Variation in Watershed Flood Response and Delineation of Hydrologically Homogeneous Regions Using Spatially Distributed Data (invited),” AGU Fall Meeting 2013, San Francisco, CA, December 11, 2013.

Griffis, V. W. and N. Salvadori (2013). “Evaluation of the Relative Influence of Climate Variability and Human Activities on Flood Risk in Moderately Impaired Watersheds,” AGU Fall Meeting 2013, San Francisco, CA, December 13, 2013.

Spellman, P., V. W. Griffis, and K. LaFond (2013). “Impacts of Climate Change on Current Methodologies for Flood Risk Analysis: Watershed-Scale Analyses Using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT),” AGU Fall Meeting 2013, San Francisco, CA, December 12, 2013.

Griffis, V. W. (2013). “Long-term Flood Risk Forecasts Informed by Climate and Land Use Projections (invited),” Developing Sustainable Networks of Women Scientists for Addressing Issues of Hydrologic Events and Hazards, Buenos Aires, Argentina, November 5, 2013.

Spellman, P. and V. W. Griffis (2013). “Stream Flow Across Hydrologic Boundaries: Implications for Flood Frequency Analysis in Karst Terrain,” Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, Denver, Colorado, October 27-30, 2013.

Griffis, V. W., R. Gyawali, and D. W. Watkins (2012). “Climate Downscaling using Regional Regression and Physically Based Watershed Models,” AGU Fall Meeting 2012, San Francisco, CA.

Fritsch, C. and V. W. Griffis (2011). “Climate Informed Flood Risk Projections,” AGU Fall Meeting 2011, San Francisco, CA.

Fritsch, C. and V. W. Griffis (2011). “Evaluation of Flood Risk Under Climate Variability Using Continuous Hydrologic Modeling,” World Water & Environmental Resources Congress, Palm Springs, California, May 22-26, 2011. American Society of Civil Engineers.

Watkins, D. W., V. W. Griffis, and B. Faber (2011). “Systems Approaches to Flood Risk Management Modeling: Barriers and Directions for Research,” World Water & Environmental Resources Congress, Palm Springs, California, May 22-26, 2011. American Society of Civil Engineers.

Stedinger, J. R. and V. W. Griffis (2010). “Getting From Here to Where? (invited)” Workshop on Nonstationarity, Hydrologic Frequency Analysis and Water Management, January 14, 2010, Boulder, CO.

Griffis, V. W. (2009). “Flood Frequency Analysis in the United States: Time for an Update (invited)”, University of Wisconsin-Madison, March 12, 2009.

Ilorme, F. and V. W. Griffis (2008). “Relating Hydrological Homogeneity to Watershed Characteristics”, AGU Fall Meeting 2008, San Francisco, CA.

Stedinger, J. R. and V. W. Griffis (2008). “Flood Frequency Analysis in the United States: Opportunities for Change,” Floodplain Management Association 2008 Annual Meeting, September 4, 2008, San Diego, CA.

Griffis, V. W. (2008). “Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Flood Frequency and Other Surface Water Phenomena (invited),” Impact of Climate Change on the Great Lakes Ecosystem – A NOAA Science Needs Assessment Workshop to Meet Emerging Challenges, Ann Arbor, MI, July 29, 2008.

Kashelikar, A. S. and V. W. Griffis (2007). “Improving Forecasts of Flood Risk by Incorporating Climate Variability Into Bulletin 17B LP3 Model”, AGU Fall Meeting 2007, San Francisco, CA.

Griffis, V. W. (2007). “Integrating Global Hydrology Into Graduate Engineering Education and Research,” AGU Fall Meeting 2007, San Francisco, CA.

Griffis, V. W. and J. R. Stedinger (2007). “Regional Hydrologic Analyses Using GLS Regression” IUGG 2007 Meeting, Perugia, Italy.

Griffis, V. W. (2006). “Flood Frequency Analysis with Climate Change and Variability”, AGU Fall Meeting 2006, San Francisco, CA.

Griffis, V. W. (2005). “Bulletin 17B and Beyond (invited)”, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA, November 11, 2005.

Upcoming Presentations

Griffis, V. W., A. S. Mayer, and M. B. LaBeau (2014). “Impacts of Intra-Annual Climate Variability and Change on Phosphorous Loads in the Great Lakes Basin,” AGU Fall Meeting 2014, San Francisco, CA.


 

Achievements/Awards/Honors

2011 National Science Foundation CAREER Award

2011 ASCE Outstanding Reviewer, Journal of Hydrologic Engineering

2006, inducted into Sigma Xi Honor Society

2004, 2005, & 2006, awarded John E. Perry Teaching Assistant Prize at Cornell University

2003 National Science Foundation Honorable Mention

2000, inducted into Tau Beta Pi National Engineering Honor Society

2000, inducted into Chi Epsilon National Civil Engineering Honor Society

2000, inducted into Golden Key National Honor Society

2001, received Edward H. Phelps Senior Civil Engineering Award at the University of Vermont

2000, received Junior Civil Engineering Award at the University of Vermont

1999, received Reginald Milbank Sophomore Award at the University of Vermont

1999, received Tau Beta Pi Sophomore Award

1998, inducted into Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society

1997-2001, awarded Green Mountain Power Four-Year Scholarship to attend the University of Vermont

1997-2001, Vermont Scholars Program

 

Professional Affiliations

Michigan Floodplain and Stormwater Association (MFSA)

Hydrologic Frequency Analysis Work Group (HFAWG), a subcommittee of the Advisory Committee of Water Information of the U.S. Geological Survey

American Geophysical Union (AGU)

American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE); Environmental and Water Resources Institute (EWRI)

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Last updated on October 16, 2014

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