Research Spotlight: Determining a relevant measure of hydrologic connectivity

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Abstract

[1] One of the biggest challenges in hydrology is to determine how rainwater moves through a landscape and feeds river flows. Water can circulate in underground channels, flow across the surface, or slowly permeate soil; it can either end up stored in the soil or wend its way to a stream. Representations of how water goes from one part of a landscape to another can be described by the concept of hydrologic connectivity. Unfortunately, there is no standard measure used by the research community to determine whether two wet areas are hydrologically connected. Hydrologists do not agree on how to combine soil water information and topography into a single number that would reflect a catchment's ability to rapidly transfer water from any point to a river. (Water Resources Research, doi:10.1029/2010WR009442, 2010)

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