• river;
  • hydraulic geometry;
  • hydraulics;
  • mixed-effects;
  • multilevel modelling


Using a dataset of gauged river discharges taken from sites in England and Wales, linear multilevel models (also known as mixed effects models) were applied to quantify the variability in discharge and the discharge-hydraulic geometry relationships across three nested spatial scales. A jackknifing procedure was used to test the ability of the multilevel models to predict hydraulic geometry, and therefore width, mean depth and mean velocity, at ungauged stations. These models provide a framework for making predictions of hydraulic geometry parameters, with associated levels of uncertainty, using different levels of data availability. Results indicate that as one travels downstream along a river there is greater variability in hydraulic geometry than is the case between rivers of similar sizes. This indicates that hydraulic geometry (and therefore hydrology) is driven by catchment area, to a greater extent than by natural geomorphological variations in the streamwise direction at the mesoscale, but these geomorphological variations can still have a major impact on channel structure. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.