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Open AccessArticle

Estimation of Active Stream Network Length in a Hilly Headwater Catchment Using Recession Flow Analysis

by Wei Li 1,2,*, Ke Zhang 3,*, Yuqiao Long 1 and Li Feng 4
1
Nanjing Hydraulic Research Institute, Hydrology and Water Resources Department, Nanjing 210029, China
2
Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, MN 55108, USA
3
State Key Laboratory of Hydrology-Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering, and College of Hydrology and Water Resources, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China
4
Science and Technology Novelty-Checking Institute, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Xuan Yu
Water 2017, 9(5), 348; https://doi.org/10.3390/w9050348
Received: 21 March 2017 / Revised: 12 May 2017 / Accepted: 13 May 2017 / Published: 16 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hillslope and Watershed Hydrology)
Varying active stream network lengths (ASNL) is a common phenomenon, especially in hilly headwater catchment. However, direct observations of ASNL are difficult to perform in mountainous catchments. Regarding the correlation between active stream networks and stream recession flow characteristics, we developed a new method to estimate the ASNL, under different wetness conditions, of a catchment by using streamflow recession analysis as defined by Brutsaert and Nieber in 1977. In our study basin, the Sagehen Creek catchment, we found that aquifer depth is related to a dimensionless parameter defined by Brutsaert in 1994 to represent the characteristic slope magnitude for a catchment. The results show that the estimated ASNL ranges between 9.8 and 43.9 km which is consistent with direct observations of dynamic stream length, ranging from 12.4 to 32.5 km in this catchment. We also found that the variation of catchment parameters between different recession events determines the upper boundary characteristic of recession flow plot on a log–log scale. View Full-Text
Keywords: active stream network; recession flow; headwater catchment; parameter estimation active stream network; recession flow; headwater catchment; parameter estimation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Li, W.; Zhang, K.; Long, Y.; Feng, L. Estimation of Active Stream Network Length in a Hilly Headwater Catchment Using Recession Flow Analysis. Water 2017, 9, 348.

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