• hydrologic classification;
  • hydrologic cycle;
  • watersheds;
  • rivers/streams;
  • runoff;
  • geospatial analysis

Wigington, Parker J., Jr., Scott G. Leibowitz, Randy L. Comeleo, and Joseph L. Ebersole, 2012. Oregon Hydrologic Landscapes: A Classification Framework. Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA) 1-20. DOI: 10.1111/jawr.12009

Abstract:  There is a growing need for hydrologic classification systems that can provide a basis for broad-scale assessments of the hydrologic functions of landscapes and watersheds and their responses to stressors such as climate change. We developed a hydrologic landscape (HL) classification approach that describes factors of climate-watershed systems that control the hydrologic characteristics of watersheds. Our assessment units are incremental watersheds (i.e., headwater watersheds or areas draining directly into stream reaches). Major components of the classification include indices of annual climate, climate seasonality, aquifer permeability, terrain, and soil permeability. To evaluate the usefulness of our approach, we identified 30 rivers with long-term streamflow-gauging records and without major diversions and impoundments. We used statistical clustering to group the streams based on the shapes of their annual hydrographs. Comparison of the streamflow clusters and HL distributions within river basin clusters shows that the Oregon HL approach has the ability to provide insights about the expected hydrologic behavior of HLs and larger river basins. The Oregon HL approach has potential to be a useful framework for comparing hydrologic attributes of streams and rivers in the Pacific Northwest.