The AGU Chapman Conference on Spatial Variability in Hydrologic Modeling was held July 21–23, 1981, at the Colorado State University Pingree Park Campus, located in the mountains some 88.5 km (55 miles) west of Fort Collins, Colorado. The conference was attended by experimentalists and theoreticians from a wide range of disciplines, including geology, hydrology, civil engineering, watershed science, chemical engineering, geography, statistics, mathematics, meteorology, and soil science. The attendees included researchers at various levels of research experience, including a large contingent of graduate students and many senior scientists.
The conference goal was to review progress and discuss research approaches to the spatial variability of catchment surface and subsurface properties in a distributed modeling context. Mathematical models of water movement dynamics within a catchment consist of linked partial differential equations that describe free surface flow and unsaturated and saturated flow in porous media. Such models are utilized extensively in attempts to understand and predict the environmental consequences of human activities such as agricultural land management, waste disposal, urbanization, etc. We are concerned with the spatial structure of the parameters in such models, the precipitation input, and the geometric complexity of the system boundaries. The emphasis of this conference was on surface and subsurface hydrological process and their interactions.