Variable power-law scaling of hillslope Hortonian rainfall–runoff processes

Vito Ferro, Vincenzo Bagarello, Ninglian Wang, Songbai Wu, Li Chen, Ninglian Wang, Shaohui Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Hydrological studies focused on Hortonian rainfall–run-off scaling have found that the run-off depth generally declines with the plot length in power-law scaling. Both the power-law proportional coefficient and the scaling exponent show great variability for specific conditions, but why and how they vary remain unclear. In the present study, the scaling of hillslope Hortonian rainfall–run-off processes is investigated for different rainfall, soil infiltration, and hillslope surface characteristics using the physically based cell-based rainfall-infiltration-run-off model. The results show that both temporally intermittent and steady rainfalls can result in prominent power-law scaling at the initial stage of run-off generation. Then, the magnitude of the power-law scaling decreases gradually due to the decreasing run-on effect. The power-law scaling is most sensitive to the rainfall and soil infiltration parameters. When the ratio of rainfall to infiltration exceeds a critical value, the magnitude of the power-law scaling tends to decrease notably. For different intermittent rainfall patterns, the power-law exponent varies in the range of −1.0 to −0.113, which shows an approximately logarithmic increasing trend for the proportional coefficient as a function of the run-off coefficient. The scaling is also sensitive to the surface roughness, soil sealing, slope angle, and hillslope geometry because these factors control the run-off routing and run-on infiltration processes. These results provide insights into the variable scaling of the Hortonian rainfall–run-off process, which are expected to benefit modelling of large-scale hydrological and ecological processes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2926-2938
Number of pages13
JournalHydrological Processes
Volume33
Publication statusPublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology

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