In spite of the prevalence of temporary rivers over a wide range of climatic conditions, they represent a relatively understudied fraction of the global river network. Here, we exploit a well-established hydrological model and a derived distribution approach to develop a coupled probabilistic description for the dynamics of the catchment discharge and the corresponding active network length. Analytical expressions for the flow duration curve (FDC) and the stream length duration curve (SLDC) were derived and used to provide a consistent classification of streamflow and active length regimes in temporary rivers. Two distinct streamflow regimes (persistent and erratic) and three different types of active length regimes (ephemeral, perennial, and ephemeral de facto) were identified depending on the value of two dimensionless parameters. These key parameters, which are related to the underlying streamflow fluctuations and the sensitivity of active length to changes in the catchment discharge (here quantified by the scaling exponent b), originate seven different behavioral classes characterized by contrasting shapes of the underlying SLDCs and FDCs. The analytical model was tested using data gathered in three study catchments located in Italy and USA, with satisfactory model performances in most cases. Our analytical and empirical results show the existence of a structural relationship between streamflow and active length regimes, which is chiefly modulated by the scaling exponent b. The proposed framework represents a promising tool for the coupled analysis of discharge and river network length dynamics in temporary streams.

Probabilistic Description of Streamflow and Active Length Regimes in Rivers

Durighetto, Nicola;Zanetti, Francesca;Senatore, Alfonso;Botter, Gianluca
2022

Abstract

In spite of the prevalence of temporary rivers over a wide range of climatic conditions, they represent a relatively understudied fraction of the global river network. Here, we exploit a well-established hydrological model and a derived distribution approach to develop a coupled probabilistic description for the dynamics of the catchment discharge and the corresponding active network length. Analytical expressions for the flow duration curve (FDC) and the stream length duration curve (SLDC) were derived and used to provide a consistent classification of streamflow and active length regimes in temporary rivers. Two distinct streamflow regimes (persistent and erratic) and three different types of active length regimes (ephemeral, perennial, and ephemeral de facto) were identified depending on the value of two dimensionless parameters. These key parameters, which are related to the underlying streamflow fluctuations and the sensitivity of active length to changes in the catchment discharge (here quantified by the scaling exponent b), originate seven different behavioral classes characterized by contrasting shapes of the underlying SLDCs and FDCs. The analytical model was tested using data gathered in three study catchments located in Italy and USA, with satisfactory model performances in most cases. Our analytical and empirical results show the existence of a structural relationship between streamflow and active length regimes, which is chiefly modulated by the scaling exponent b. The proposed framework represents a promising tool for the coupled analysis of discharge and river network length dynamics in temporary streams.
2022
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11577/3452298
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