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Faculty for Biology, Chemistry, and Earth Sciences

Department of Ecological Modelling - Prof. Dr. Michael Hauhs

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Hauhs, M; Lange, H: Classification of runoff in headwater catchments: A physical problem?, Geography Compass, 2(1), 235-254 (2008), doi:10.1111/j.1749-8198.2007.00075.x [Link]
Life on earth depends on water and where running water occurs on earth, there is life. Nevertheless, existing modelling approaches in hydrology almost completely neglect the biological aspects of water flow. We claim that ignoring biological behaviour and interaction in catchment runoff modelling is too restrictive, and that computational theories can be used to formalise behaviour and interaction and model the biological impact on runoff. To demonstrate this, starting with a general classification of catchment behaviour, as documented in runoff data, we will use symbolic dynamics to quantify randomness and complexity in the time series. This approach shows that runoff records from very different catchments show common behaviour. This behaviour can be fitted to a one-parametric curve, stratified into three regions. In this manner, it becomes possible to represent and classify types of interactive behaviour that cannot be generated algorithmically. This suggests that physically based catchment models do not properly represent all types of interactive behaviour, and that signatures of biological interaction are present in runoff data.
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