Journal cover Journal topic
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2016-486
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
28 Sep 2016
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It has been under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS). A final paper in HESS is not foreseen.
Spatial organisation of catchments – assessment and usage for impartial sub-basin ascertainment and classification
Henning Oppel and Andreas Schumann Institute of Hydrology, Water Resources Management and Environmental Engineering, Ruhr-University Bochum, Bochum, 44801, Germany
Abstract. A hydrological model should represent the hydrological most relevant catchment characteristics. These are heterogeneously distributed within a watershed but often interrelated and subject of a certain spatial organisation. In order to reproduce the natural rainfall-runoff response the reduction of variance of catchment properties as well as the incorporation of the spatial organisation of the catchment is desirable. In this study the method of the characteristic structure is introduced to detect and visualize the spatial organisation of catchments, based on stream flow length rearrangement of any catchment feature of interest. Moreover, the method is implemented in an algorithm for automated sub-basin ascertainment, which includes the definition of zones within the newly defined sub-basins. The algorithm is applied on two parameters characterising topography and soil of four mid-European watersheds. Results indicate a wide range of applicability for the method and the algorithm. As a limitation of the application for the algorithm the presence of small scale soil enclosures that do not follow the geomorphologic structure of the catchment could be identified. Finally, results of subdivisions based on soil and topography were intersected to gain insight into catchment organisation. Based on this analysis four types of physiographical types could be established.

Citation: Oppel, H. and Schumann, A.: Spatial organisation of catchments – assessment and usage for impartial sub-basin ascertainment and classification, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2016-486, 2016.
Henning Oppel and Andreas Schumann
Henning Oppel and Andreas Schumann

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Short summary
We are assessing the spatial organisation of catchments by a flow path orientated analysis of soil and topographical characteristics. These information are used to identify heterogeneous regions within a watershed and, hence, require subdivision. Based on this analysis we developed an algorithm to perform an automated and impartial sub-basin ascertainment. Results can be used for the spatial set up of hydrological models or catchment classification schemes.
We are assessing the spatial organisation of catchments by a flow path orientated analysis of...
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