Basin Outlet (basin + outlet)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

Amount and controls of the quaternary denudation in the Ardennes massif (western Europe)

A. Demoulin
Abstract It is still debated whether the primary control on the middle Pleistocene denudation of the uplifted Ardennes massif (western Europe) is tectonic or climatic. Here, based on geomorphological observations, we calculate the amount of river incision and interfluve denudation in the Meuse basin upstream of Maastricht since 07 Ma and we show that the main response to tectonic forcing was incision. This allows us to provide first-order estimates of the tectonic and climatic contributions to the denudation of the Ardennes. From a dataset of 71 remnants of a terrace level dated ,07 Ma, we first derive a basin-scale functional relationship linking incision with distances to the regional base level (Lc) and to the source (Ls) in the Ourthe basin (pertaining to the Ardennian part of the Meuse basin). Expressed as I = I0*(1 , a*Lcb/Lsc), I0 being the incision measured at the basin outlet, this relationship calculates that river incision has removed 84 km3 of rock in the Meuse basin upstream of Maastricht since 07 Ma. In the same time, 292 km3 were eroded from the interfluves. A comparison of these volumes shows that the tectonically forced river incision accounts for ,22% of the total post-07 Ma denudation. Furthermore, the mean denudation rate corresponding to our geomorphological estimate of the overall denudation in the Meuse basin since 07 Ma amounts to 27 mm/ky, a figure significantly lower than the ,40 mm/ky mean rate derived from 10Be studies of terrace deposits of the Meuse (Schaller et al., 2004). This suggests that, taken as a basin average, the 10Be-derived rate is overestimated, probably due to an overrepresentation of the erosion products of the rapidly incising valleys in the alluvial deposits. Copyright 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Close range digital photogrammetric analysis of experimental drainage basin evolution

J. Brasington
Abstract Despite the difficulties of establishing formal hydraulic and geometric similarity, small-scale models of drainage basins have often been used to investigate the evolution and dynamics of larger-scale landforms. Historically, this analysis has been restricted to planform basin characteristics and only in the last decade has the topographic similarity of experimental landscapes been explored through explicitly three-dimensional parameters such as the distributions of cumulative drainage area, area,slope and catchment elevation. The current emphasis on three-dimensional morphometry reflects a growing awareness of the descriptive paucity of planform data and the need for more robust analysis of spatial scaling relationships. This paradigm shift has been significantly facilitated by technological developments in topographic survey and digital elevation modelling (DEM) which now present the opportunity to acquire and analyse high-resolution, distributed elevation data. Few studies have, however, attempted to use topographic modelling to provide information on the changing pattern and rate of sediment transport though an evolving landscape directly by using multitemporal DEM differencing techniques. This paper reports a laboratory study in which digital photogrammetry was employed to derive high-resolution DEMs of a simulated landscape in declining equilibrium at 15 minute frequency through a 240 minute simulation. Detailed evaluation of the DEMs revealed a vertical precision of 12 mm and threshold level of change detection between surfaces of 3 mm at the 95 per cent confidence level. This quality assurance set the limits for determining the volumetric change between surfaces, which was used to recover the sediment budget through the experiment and to examine local - and basin-scale rates of sediment transport. A comparison of directly observed and morphometric estimates of sediment yield at the basin outlet was used to quantify the closure of the sediment budget over the simulation, and revealed an encouragingly small 62 per cent error. The application of this dynamic morphological approach has the potential to offer new insights into the controls on landform development, as demonstrated here by an analysis of the changing pattern of the basin sediment delivery ratio during network growth. Copyright 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Importance of Unsaturated Zone Flow for Simulating Recharge in a Humid Climate

GROUND WATER, Issue 4 2008
Randall J. Hunt
Transient recharge to the water table is often not well understood or quantified. Two approaches for simulating transient recharge in a ground water flow model were investigated using the Trout Lake watershed in north-central Wisconsin: (1) a traditional approach of adding recharge directly to the water table and (2) routing the same volume of water through an unsaturated zone column to the water table. Areas with thin (less than 1 m) unsaturated zones showed little difference in timing of recharge between the two approaches; when water was routed through the unsaturated zone, however, less recharge was delivered to the water table and more discharge occurred to the surface because recharge direction and magnitude changed when the water table rose to the land surface. Areas with a thick (15 to 26 m) unsaturated zone were characterized by multimonth lags between infiltration and recharge, and, in some cases, wetting fronts from precipitation events during the fall overtook and mixed with infiltration from the previous spring snowmelt. Thus, in thicker unsaturated zones, the volume of water infiltrated was properly simulated using the traditional approach, but the timing was different from simulations that included unsaturated zone flow. Routing of rejected recharge and ground water discharge at land surface to surface water features also provided a better simulation of the observed flow regime in a stream at the basin outlet. These results demonstrate that consideration of flow through the unsaturated zone may be important when simulating transient ground water flow in humid climates with shallow water tables. [source]

Transformations of runoff chemistry in the Arctic tundra, Northwest Territories, Canada

W. L. Quinton
Abstract The transformation of snowmelt water chemical composition during melt, elution and runoff in an Arctic tundra basin is investigated. The chemistry of the water flowing along pathways from the surface of melting snow to the 955 ha basin outlet is related to relevant hydrological processes. In so doing, this paper offers physically based explanations for the transformation of major ion concentrations and loads of runoff water associated with snowmelt and rainfall along hydrological pathways to the stream outlet. Late-lying snowdrifts were found to influence the ion chemistry in adjacent reaches of the stream channel greatly. As the initial pulse of ion-rich melt water drained from the snowdrift and was conveyed through hillslope flowpaths, the concentrations of most ions increased, and the duration of the peak ionic pulse lengthened. Over the first 3 m of overland flow, the concentrations of all ions except for NO increased by one to two orders of magnitude, with the largest increase for K+, Ca2+ and Mg2+. This was roughly equivalent to the concentration increase that resulted from percolation of relatively dilute water through 025 m of unsaturated soil. The Na+ and Cl, were the dominant ions in snowmelt water, whereas Ca2+ and Mg2+ dominated the hillslope runoff. On slopes below a large melting snowdrift, ion concentrations of melt water flowing in the saturated layer of the soil were very similar to the relatively dilute concentrations found in surface runoff. However, once the snowdrift ablated, ion concentrations of subsurface flow increased above parent melt-water concentrations. Three seasonally characteristic hydrochemical regimes were identified in a stream reach adjacent to late-lying snowdrifts. In the first two stages, the water chemistry in the stream channel strongly resembled the hillslope drainage water. In the third stage, in-stream geochemical processes, including the weathering/ion exchange of Ca2+ and Mg2+, were the main control of streamwater chemistry. Copyright 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Assessment of flooding in urbanized ungauged basins: a case study in the Upper Tiber area, Italy

T. Moramarco
Abstract The reliability of a procedure for investigation of flooding into an ungauged river reach close to an urban area is investigated. The approach is based on the application of a semi-distributed rainfall,runoff model for a gauged basin, including the flood-prone area, and that furnishes the inlet flow conditions for a two-dimensional hydraulic model, whose computational domain is the urban area. The flood event, which occurred in October 1998 in the Upper Tiber river basin and caused significant damage in the town of Pieve S. Stefano, was used to test the approach. The built-up area, often inundated, is included in the gauged basin of the Montedoglio dam (275 km2), for which the rainfall,runoff model was adapted and calibrated through three flood events without over-bank flow. With the selected set of parameters, the hydrological model was found reasonably accurate in simulating the discharge hydrograph of the three events, whereas the flood event of October 1998 was simulated poorly, with an error in peak discharge and time to peak of ,58% and 20%, respectively. This discrepancy was ascribed to the combined effect of the rainfall spatial variability and a partial obstruction of the bridge located in Pieve S. Stefano. In fact, taking account of the last hypothesis, the hydraulic model reproduced with a fair accuracy the observed flooded urban area. Moreover, incorporating into the hydrological model the flow resulting from a sudden cleaning of the obstruction, which was simulated by a ,shock-capturing' one-dimensional hydraulic model, the discharge hydrograph at the basin outlet was well represented if the rainfall was supposed to have occurred in the region near the main channel. This was simulated by reducing considerably the dynamic parameter, the lag time, of the instantaneous unit hydrograph for each homogeneous element into which the basin is divided. The error in peak discharge and time to peak decreased by a few percent. A sensitivity analysis of both the flooding volume involved in the shock wave and the lag time showed that this latter parameter requires a careful evaluation. Moreover, the analysis of the hydrograph peak prediction due to error in rainfall input showed that the error in peak discharge was lower than that of the same input error quantity. Therefore, the obtained results allowed us to support the hypothesis on the causes which triggered the complex event occurring in October 1998, and pointed out that the proposed procedure can be conveniently adopted for flood risk evaluation in ungauged river basins where a built-up area is located. The need for a more detailed analysis regarding the processes of runoff generation and flood routing is also highlighted. Copyright 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

The GEOTOP snow module

Fabrizio Zanotti
Abstract A snow accumulation and melt module implemented in the GEOTOP model is presented and tested. GEOTOP, a distributed model of the hydrological cycle, based on digital elevation models (DEMs), calculates the discharge at the basin outlet and estimates the local and distributed values of several hydro-meteorological quantities. It solves the energy and the mass balance jointly and deals accurately with the effects of topography on the interactions among radiation physics, energy balance and the hydrological cycle. Soil properties are considered to depend on soil temperature and moisture, and the heat and water transfer in the soil is modelled using a multilayer approach. The snow module solves for the soil,snow energy and mass exchanges, and, together with a runoff production module, is embedded in a more general energy balance model that provides all the boundary conditions required. The snowpack is schematized as a single snow layer where a limited number of physical processes are described. The module can be seen essentially as a parameter-free model. The application to an alpine catchment (Rio Valbiolo, Trentino, Italy), monitored by an in situ snow-depth sensor, is discussed and shown to give results comparable to those of more complex models. Copyright 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

On morphometric properties of basins, scale effects and hydrological response

Roger Moussa
Abstract One of the important problems in hydrology is the quantitative description of river system structure and the identification of relationships between geomorphological properties and hydrological response. Digital elevation models (DEMs) generally are used to delineate the basin's limits and to extract the channel network considering pixels draining an area greater than a threshold area S. In this paper, new catchment shape descriptors, the geometric characteristics of an equivalent ellipse that has the same centre of gravity, the same principal inertia axes, the same area and the same ratio of minimal inertia moment to maximal inertia moment as the basin, are proposed. They are applied in order to compare and classify the structure of seven basins located in southern France. These descriptors were correlated to hydrological properties of the basins' responses such as the lag time and the maximum amplitude of a geomorphological unit hydrograph calculated at the basin outlet by routing an impulse function through the channel network using the diffusive wave model. Then, we analysed the effects of the threshold area S on the topological structure of the channel network and on the evolution of the source catchment's shape. Simple models based on empirical relationships between the threshold S and the morphometric properties were established and new catchment shape indexes, independent of the observation scale S, were defined. This methodology is useful for geomorphologists dealing with the shape of source basins and for hydrologists dealing with the problem of scale effects on basin topology and on relationships between the basin morphometric properties and the hydrological response. Copyright 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]

Spatial Calibration and Temporal Validation of Flow for Regional Scale Hydrologic Modeling,

C. Santhi
Abstract:, Physically based regional scale hydrologic modeling is gaining importance for planning and management of water resources. Calibration and validation of such regional scale model is necessary before applying it for scenario assessment. However, in most regional scale hydrologic modeling, flow validation is performed at the river basin outlet without accounting for spatial variations in hydrological parameters within the subunits. In this study, we calibrated the model to capture the spatial variations in runoff at subwatershed level to assure local water balance, and validated the streamflow at key gaging stations along the river to assure temporal variability. Ohio and Arkansas-White-Red River Basins of the United States were modeled using Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) for the period from 1961 to 1990. R2 values of average annual runoff at subwatersheds were 0.78 and 0.99 for the Ohio and Arkansas Basins. Observed and simulated annual and monthly streamflow from 1961 to 1990 is used for temporal validation at the gages. R2 values estimated were greater than 0.6. In summary, spatially distributed calibration at subwatersheds and temporal validation at the stream gages accounted for the spatial and temporal hydrological patterns reasonably well in the two river basins. This study highlights the importance of spatially distributed calibration and validation in large river basins. [source]


Zhongbo Yu
ABSTRACT: With the increasing availability of digital and remotely sensed data such as land use, soil texture, and digital elevation models (DEMs), geographic information systems (GIS) have become an indispensable tool in preprocessing data sets for watershed hydrologic modeling and post processing simulation results. However, model inputs and outputs must be transferred between the model and the GIS. These transfers can be greatly simplified by incorporating the model itself into the GIS environment. To this end, a simple hydrologic model, which incorporates the curve number method of rainfall-runoff partitioning, the ground-water base-flow routine, and the Muskingum flow routing procedure, was implemented on the GIS. The model interfaces directly with stream network, flow direction, and watershed boundary data generated using standard GIS terrain analysis tools; and while the model is running, various data layers may be viewed at each time step using the full display capabilities. The terrain analysis tools were first used to delineate the drainage basins and stream networks for the Susquehanna River. Then the model was used to simulate the hydrologic response of the Upper West Branch of the Susquehanna to two different storms. The simulated streamflow hydrographs compare well with the observed hydrographs at the basin outlet. [source]

Universality and variability in basin outlet spacing: implications for the two-dimensional form of drainage basins

BASIN RESEARCH, Issue 2 2009
Rachel C. Walcott
ABSTRACT It has been observed that the distance between the outlets of transverse basins in orogens is typically half of the distance between the main divide and the range front irrespective of mountain range size or erosional controls. Although it has been suggested that this relationship is the inherent expression of Hack's law, and/or possibly a function of range widening, there are cases of notable deviations from the typical half-width average spacing. Moreover, it has not been demonstrated that this general relationship is also true for basins in morphologically similar nonorogenic settings, or for those that do not extend to the main drainage divide. These issues are explored by investigating the relationship between basin outlet spacing and the 2-dimensional geometric properties of drainage basins (basin length, main valley length and basin area) in order to assess whether the basin outlet spacing-range width ratio is a universal characteristic of fluvial systems. We examined basins spanning two orders of magnitude in area along the southern flank of the Himalayas and the coastal zone of southeast Africa. We found that the spacing between basin outlets (Los) for major transverse basins that drain the main divide (range-scale basins) is approximately half of the basin length (Lb) for all basins, irrespective of size, in southeast Africa. In the Himalayas, while this ratio was observed for eastern Himalayan basins (a region where the maximum elevations coincided with the main drainage divide), it was only observed in basins shorter than ,30 km in the western and central Himalayas. Our analysis indicates that basin outlet spacing is consistent with Hack's law, apparently because the increase in basin width (represented by outlet spacing) with basin area occurs at a rate similar to the increase in main stream length (Lv) with basin area. It is suggested that most river systems tend towards an approximately diamond-shaped packing arrangement, and this applies both to the nonorogenic setting of southeast Africa as well as most orogenic settings. However, in the western Himalayas shortening associated with localised rock uplift appears to have occurred at length scales smaller than most the basins examined. As a result rivers in basins longer than ,30 km have been unable to erode in a direction normal to the range front at a sufficiently high rate to sustain this form and have been forced into an alternative, and possibly unstable, packing arrangement. [source]