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Title: Hillslope threshold response to rainfall: (2) development and use of a macroscale model

Author: Graham, Chris B.; McDonnell, Jeffrey J.;

Date: 2010

Source: Journal of Hydrology. 393: 77-93

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Hillslope hydrological response to precipitation is extremely complex and poorly modeled. One possible approach for reducing the complexity of hillslope response and its mathematical parameterization is to look for macroscale hydrological behavior. Hillslope threshold response to storm precipitation is one such macroscale behavior observed at field sites across the globe. Nevertheless, the relative controls on the precipitation-discharge threshold are poorly known. This paper presents a combined model development, calibration and testing experiment study to investigate the primary controls on the observed precipitation-discharge threshold relationship. We focus on the dominant hydrological processes revealed in part one of this two-part paper and with our new numerical model, replicate the threshold response seen in the discharge record and other hydrometric and tracer data available at the site. We then present a series of virtual experiments designed to probe the controls on the threshold response. We show that the threshold behavior is due to a combination of environmental (storm spacing and potential evapotranspiration) and geologic (bedrock permeability and bedrock topography) factors. The predicted precipitation discharge threshold subsumes the complexity of plot-scale soil water response. We then demonstrate its use for prediction of whole-catchment storm discharge at other first order catchments at Maimai and the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest in Oregon.

Keywords: preferential flow, hillslope hydrology, numeric models, model calibration, virtual experiments

Publication Notes:

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Graham, Chris B.; McDonnell, Jeffrey J. 2010. Hillslope threshold response to rainfall: (2) development and use of a macroscale model. Journal of Hydrology. 393: 77-93.


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