DEM-based Modeling at the Hillslope Scale: Recent Results and Future Process Research Needs

Friday, 18 December 2015: 16:00
3020 (Moscone West)
Jeffrey McDonnell1, Anna Coles1, Chris Paul Gabrielli1, Willemijn M Appels1 and Ali Ameli2, (1)University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada, (2)University of Waterloo, Toronto, ON, Canada
Hillslope scale patterns of overland flow, infiltration, subsurface stormflow and groundwater recharge are all topographically mediated. However, the mechanisms by which macro-, meso- and micro-topographies control filling and spilling of lateral flow, and vertical infiltration, are still poorly understood. Here we present high-resolution DEMs derived from ground-based LiDAR, airborne LiDAR, and GPR (ground penetrating rebar!) with model analysis to examine the topographic controls on water flow at three distinct hillslopes. We explore surface topographic effects on rainfall- and snowmelt-infiltration and overland flow on the Canadian Prairies; the surface and subsurface topographic controls on lateral subsurface stormflow generation and groundwater recharge at a steep, wet temperate rainforest in New Zealand; and subsurface topographic controls on patterns of groundwater recharge at a forested hillslope on the Georgia Piedmont in the United States. We demonstrate how these studies reveal future research needs for improving DEM-based watershed delineation and modeling along with some surprising similarities between topographic controls on soil surface infiltration and overland flow and twin subsurface processes at the soil-bedrock interface.