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Open AccessArticle

A Systematic, Automated Approach for River Segmentation Tested on the Magdalena River (Colombia) and the Baker River (Chile)

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Fundación CREACUA (Centro para la Recuperación de Ecosistemas ACUáticos), 40001 Riohacha, La Guajira, Colombia
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PhD program in Advanced Forestry Engineering, E.T.S.I. Montes, Forestal y Medio Natural, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid—UPM, 28040 Madrid, Spain
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Departamento Manejo de Bosques y Medio Ambiente, Facultad de Ciencias Forestales, Universidad de Concepción—UdeC, Concepción 407374, Chile
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Laboratorio de Geotecnologías y Modelamiento de Recursos Naturales (LGM), Universidad de Concepción —UdeC, Concepción 407374, Chile
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Instituto de Ciencias de la Tierra, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia 5090000, Chile
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Departamento Sistemas y Recursos Naturales, E.T.S.I. Montes, Forestal y Medio Natural, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid—UPM, 28040 Madrid, Spain
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IRD, GET-UMR CNRS/IRD/UPS—UMR 5562 du CNRS, UMR 234 de l’IRD, 900 rue J.F. Breton, 34090 Montpellier, France
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Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(10), 2827; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12102827
Received: 11 August 2020 / Revised: 1 October 2020 / Accepted: 6 October 2020 / Published: 12 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue River Evolution Research)
This paper proposes a systematic procedure to identify river reaches from a geomorphic point of view. Their identification traditionally relies on a subjective synthesis of multi-dimensional information (e.g., changes of slope, changes of width of valley bottom). We point out that some of the attributes adopted to describe geomorphic characters of a river (in particular sinuosity and confinement) depend on the length of reaches, while these latter are not yet identified; this is a source of ambiguity and introduces, at least conceptually, an unpleasant, implicit, iterative procedure. We introduce a new method which avoids this difficulty. Furthermore, it is simple, objective, and explicitly defined, and as such, it is automatable. The method requires to define and determine a set of intensive attributes, i.e., attributes that are independent of the segment length. The reaches are then identified by the intersection of the segmentations induced by such attributes. We applied the proposed procedure in two case studies, the Magdalena River (Colombia) and the Baker River (Chile), and investigated whether the adoption of the traditional approach for the definition of reaches would lead to a different result. We conclude that there would be no detectable differences. As such, the method can be considered an improvement in geomorphic river characterization. View Full-Text
Keywords: river reaches; segmentation; automated approach; fluvial geomorphology; River Styles river reaches; segmentation; automated approach; fluvial geomorphology; River Styles
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MDPI and ACS Style

Nardini, A.; Yépez, S.; Mazzorana, B.; Ulloa, H.; Bejarano, M.D.; Laraque, A. A Systematic, Automated Approach for River Segmentation Tested on the Magdalena River (Colombia) and the Baker River (Chile). Water 2020, 12, 2827.

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