Sunday, March 8, 2015

The geomorphic unit hydrograph from a historical-critical perspective

I have just submitted to the review process a paper on the geomorphic unit hydrograph. (Now published here). It crosses close to four decades of progress the field of describing the treatment of the hydrologic response with the travel time concept, and hopefully was able to convey the core of the ideas behind this very nice (and effective) theory, and to open the way to new researches. The paper was accepted as a "State of  art paper" by Earth Surface Processes and Landforms.

Its abstract:
"In this paper we present a brief overview of Geomorphic Instanteneous Unit Hydro- graph (GIUH) theories and analyze their successful path without hiding their limitations. The history of the GIUH can be subdivided into three major chapters. The first chap- ter is based on the pioneering work by Rodríguez-Iturbe and Valdés (1979), and Gupta and Waymire (1983), which recognized that a treatment of water discharges with ”travel times” could give a rich interpretation of the theory of the Instantaneous Unit Hydrograph (IUH). We show how this was possible, what assumptions were made, which of these assumptions can be relaxed, and which have become obsolete and been discarded. The second chapter focuses on the Width Function Based IUH (WFIUH) approach and its achievements in assessing the interplay of the topology and geometry of the network with water dynamics. The limitations of the WFIUH approach are described, and a way to work around them is suggested. Finally, a new formal approach to estimating the water budget by ”travel times”, which derives from a suitable use of the water budget equation and some mixing hypotheses, has been disentangled and presented."

The little post on the width function can be considered a complementary reading too.  The pre-print of the paper is here.

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