Home » A macroscale measurement and modeling approach to improve understanding of the hydrology of steep, forested hillslopes. by Christopher Brian Graham
A macroscale measurement and modeling approach to improve understanding of the hydrology of steep, forested hillslopes. Christopher Brian Graham

A macroscale measurement and modeling approach to improve understanding of the hydrology of steep, forested hillslopes.

Christopher Brian Graham

Published
ISBN : 9781109042825
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174 pages
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 About the Book 

The dominant controls on flow generation in steep, forested hillslopes are poorly understood. This dissertation examined the dominant flow processes operating at the hillslope scale, using a combined macroscale measurement and model development andMoreThe dominant controls on flow generation in steep, forested hillslopes are poorly understood. This dissertation examined the dominant flow processes operating at the hillslope scale, using a combined macroscale measurement and model development and analysis framework. Irrigation experiments at two steep forested hillslopes were conducted to isolate individual hillslope flow components and reveal the dominant controls on flow routing to the stream. A new perceptual model of flow processes at the hillslope scale was developed from these field experiments that included three key components: (1) A connected preferential flow network located at the soil/bedrock interface controls lateral water and solute transport, (2) The bedrock surface controls the subsurface flow routing, and (3) Bedrock is permeable, and acts as a sink for precipitation at the hillslope scale. These components formed the basis of a new, low dimensional numerical model that was used to represent, quantitatively, qualitative experimental findings. A multiple criteria calibration using hydrometric and tracer experimental data was conducted to evaluate the model and determine parameter identifiability. The model was able to adequately reproduce both hydrometric response to precipitation, and a tracer application breakthrough.-The model was then used within a virtual experiment framework to test the dominant controls on the whole storm precipitation/discharge threshold relationship at the catchment scale. The modeling experiments showed that the macroscale precipitation/discharge threshold was controlled by a balance between antecedent evaporation (evaporation rate times antecedent drainage time), and geologic factors (bedrock permeability and subsurface storage volume). Overall, these findings suggest that making measurements at the scale of the processes one wishes to understand, and constructing numerical models based on the dominant processes at the same scale may be a first step towards the development of macroscale laws of hillslope behavior.