Process, Heterogeneity and Scale in Modelling Soil Moisture Fluxes

  • Keith Beven
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 46)


We know that hydrological processes are highly complex. We know that the techniques available to assess the complexity of hydrological processes and parameters are inadequate, even for small scale field studies. The observability problem is particularly acute for subsurface flow processes where most measurement techniques can give only a very local indication of the hydrological response. In a series of recent papers I have highlighted some of the problems of subsurface flow modelling in the context of predicting hydrological responses at the hillslope, catchment and larger scales ; the interlinked problems of process, of heterogeneity and of scale (Beven 1987,1989a,b, 1991, 1993). There have also been a number of recent papers that have discussed these problems such as Grayson et al. (1992) but, as yet, very little in the way of progress towards resolving those problems. With some exceptions, hydrological modelling of subsurface processes continues to rely on a Darcian or Richards equation framework coupled to a concept of effective parameters with an a priori assumption that such a concept is valid regardless of the scale of application.


Representative Elementary Volume Saturated Zone Water Table Depth Preferential Flow Water Resource Research 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Keith Beven
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Research on Environmental Systems and Statistics Institute of Environmental and Biological SciencesLancaster UniversityLancasterUK

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