Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Civil Engineering

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Ashok Mishra, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. Abdul A. Khan

Committee Member

Dr. Lawrence Murdoch

Committee Member

Dr. Charles Privette, III


Compound and cascading hydroclimatic extreme events have garnered much attention in recent studies. The combined effects of interconnected extremes can cause widespread damage, with a higher potential impact than individual extremes. Both anthropogenic warming and natural climate variability affect these extremes, which is why detecting past extreme events, understanding the underlying mechanisms, and assessing their future impacts can aid in mitigation efforts to reduce their overall impact. However, thus far, identifying such events is oversimplified and the propagation of their impact as cascades from the physical to human systems remains partly explored.

The overreaching goal of this thesis is to develop robust methodologies to quantify the compound and cascading extreme events, such as drought and heatwaves, extreme precipitation and atmospheric rivers, extreme heat and humidity, and flash droughts in the past and future climate. A suite of advanced statistical methods, system dynamics, and causality approaches are implemented to achieve the research goal. This thesis consists of ten chapters, and the objective of each chapter are summarized as follows.

(1) Chapter 1 provides a brief introduction and examples of various compound and cascading hydroclimatic extremes.

(2) Chapter 2 provides a perspective of drought indices and highlights the challenges in the context of climate change.

(3) The objective of chapter 3- chapter 5 is to quantify the compound drought and heatwave characteristics (frequency, duration, and severity) and investigate their association with natural climate variability, anthropogenic warming, land-climate feedback, and background aridity across the globe.

(4) Chapter 6 is dedicated to quantifying the future changes in the potential impact of heat-stress (combination of extreme heat and humidity) on the human population.

(5) The cascading influence of meteorological forcing on the moisture advection processes associated with extreme precipitation related to atmospheric rivers is discussed in chapter 7.

(6) The objective of chapter 8 is to investigate and quantify the compound and cascading influence of different spatial drivers, such as precipitation, temperature, surface-energy portioning, soil moisture-temperature coupling strength, and vapor pressure deficit on the evolution and intensification of global flash droughts.

(7) Chapter 9 proposes a methodology to quantify the compound and cascading effects in a dry-hot event network using a system dynamics approach. Finally, the conclusion and recommendations are provided in chapter 10.



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