Quantifying Discontinuity, Connectivity, Variability, and Hierarchy in Overland Flow Generation: Comparison of Different Modeling Methods

  • Xuefeng ChuEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Water Science and Technology Library book series (WSTL, volume 81)


Under the influence of surface topography, overland flow generation and surface runoff exhibit extremely high variability and discontinuity, featuring a hierarchical pattern of connectivity and threshold behavior. Quantifying these properties is crucial to better understand the intrinsic mechanisms of overland flow generation and further improve hydrologic and water quality modeling across varying spatiotemporal scales. This research focused on the theory of threshold hydrology, including new methods for delineation of depression-dominated land surfaces and new approaches for modeling of puddle filling-spilling-merging-splitting dynamics. Comparisons with traditional delineation and modeling approaches demonstrated the existence of threshold behavior in overland flow generation, nonuniformity in evolution of hydrologic connectivity and runoff initiation, and hierarchy in drainage network development. This research emphasized the dominance of surface topography on surface and subsurface hydrologic processes.



This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. EPSCoR Award IIA-1355466 and EAR-0907588. The author would like to thank Jianli Zhang and Jun Yang for their various contributions to the related research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil and Environmental EngineeringNorth Dakota State UniversityFargoUSA

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