Journal cover Journal topic
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
10 Oct 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).
Topography significantly influencing low flows in snow-dominated watersheds
Qiang Li1, Xiaohua Wei1, Xin Yang2,3,4, Krysta Giles-Hansen1, Mingfang Zhang5, and Wenfei Liu6 1Department of Earth, Environmental and Geographic Sciences, University of British Columbia (Okanagan campus), 1177 Research Road, Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, V1V 1V7
2Key Laboratory of Virtual Geographic Environment (Nanjing Normal University), Ministry of Education, Nanjing, 210023, China
3State Key Laboratory Cultivation Base of Geographical Environment Evolution (Jiangsu Province), Nanjing, 210023, China
4Jiangsu Center for Collaborative Innovation in Geographical Information Resources Development and Application, Nanjing, 210023, China
5School of Resources and Environment, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chengdu, China
6Institute of Ecology and Environmental Science, Nanchang Institute of Technology, Nanchang, China
Abstract. Watershed topography plays an important role in determining the spatial heterogeneity of ecological, geomorphological, and hydrological processes. Few studies have quantified the role of topography on various flow variables. In this study, 28 watersheds with snow-dominated hydrological regimes were selected with daily flow records from 1989 to 1996. The watersheds are located in the Southern Interior of British Columbia, Canada and range in size from 2.6 to 1,780 km2. For each watershed, 22 topographic indices (TIs) were derived, including those commonly used in hydrology and other environmental fields. Flow variables include annual mean flow (Qmean), Q10%, Q25%, Q50%, Q75%, Q90%, and annual minimum flow (Qmin), where Qx% is defined as flows that at the percentage (x) occurred in any given year. Factor analysis (FA) was first adopted to exclude some redundant or repetitive TIs. Then, stepwise regression models were employed to quantify the relative contributions of TIs to each flow variable in each year. Our results show that topography plays a more important role in low flows than high flows. However, the effects of TIs on flow variables are not consistent. Our analysis also determines five significant TIs including perimeter, surface area, openness, terrain characterization index, and slope length factor, which can be used to compare watersheds when low flow assessments are conducted, especially in snow-dominated regions.

Citation: Li, Q., Wei, X., Yang, X., Giles-Hansen, K., Zhang, M., and Liu, W.: Topography significantly influencing low flows in snow-dominated watersheds, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss.,, in review, 2017.
Qiang Li et al.
Qiang Li et al.


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