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Measuring the significance of a divide to local drainage patterns
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology. University of Zurich .
2013 (English)In: International Journal of Geographical Information Science, ISSN 1365-8816, E-ISSN 1362-3087, Vol. 27, no 7, 1453-1468 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article presents a framework for estimating a new topographic attribute derived from digital elevation models (DEMs) called maximum branch length (B-max). Branch length is defined as the distance travelled along a flow path initiated at one grid cell to the confluence with the flow path passing through a second cell. B-max is the longest branch length measured for a grid cell and its eight neighbours. The index provides a physically meaningful method for assessing the relative significance of drainage divides to the dispersion of materials and energy across a landscape, that is, it is a measure of divide size'. B-max is particularly useful for studying divide network structure, for mapping drainage divides, and in landform classification applications. Sensitivity analyses were performed to evaluate the robustness of estimates of B-max to the algorithm used to estimate flow lengths and the prevalence of edge effects resulting from inadequate DEM extent. The findings suggest that the index is insensitive to the specific flow algorithm used but that edge effects can result in significant underestimation along major divides. Edge contamination can, however, be avoided by using an appropriately extensive DEM.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 27, no 7, 1453-1468 p.
Keyword [en]
topographic index, ridge, drainage divide, digital elevation models, terrain analysis, fluvial terrain, topography
National Category
Physical Geography
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-93193DOI: 10.1080/13658816.2012.705289ISI: 000322213600013OAI: diva2:645753


Available from: 2013-09-05 Created: 2013-09-04 Last updated: 2013-09-05Bibliographically approved

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Seibert, Jan
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