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An index of floodplain surface complexity

Scown, M. W. LU ; Thoms, M. C. and De Jager, N. R. (2016) In Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 20(1). p.431-441
Abstract

Floodplain surface topography is an important component of floodplain ecosystems. It is the primary physical template upon which ecosystem processes are acted out, and complexity in this template can contribute to the high biodiversity and productivity of floodplain ecosystems. There has been a limited appreciation of floodplain surface complexity because of the traditional focus on temporal variability in floodplains as well as limitations to quantifying spatial complexity. An index of floodplain surface complexity (FSC) is developed in this paper and applied to eight floodplains from different geographic settings. The index is based on two key indicators of complexity, variability in surface geometry (VSG) and the spatial organisation... (More)

Floodplain surface topography is an important component of floodplain ecosystems. It is the primary physical template upon which ecosystem processes are acted out, and complexity in this template can contribute to the high biodiversity and productivity of floodplain ecosystems. There has been a limited appreciation of floodplain surface complexity because of the traditional focus on temporal variability in floodplains as well as limitations to quantifying spatial complexity. An index of floodplain surface complexity (FSC) is developed in this paper and applied to eight floodplains from different geographic settings. The index is based on two key indicators of complexity, variability in surface geometry (VSG) and the spatial organisation of surface conditions (SPO), and was determined at three sampling scales. FSC, VSG, and SPO varied between the eight floodplains and these differences depended upon sampling scale. Relationships between these measures of spatial complexity and seven geomorphological and hydrological drivers were investigated. There was a significant decline in all complexity measures with increasing floodplain width, which was explained by either a power, logarithmic, or exponential function. There was an initial rapid decline in surface complexity as floodplain width increased from 1.5 to 5 km, followed by little change in floodplains wider than 10 km. VSG also increased significantly with increasing sediment yield. No significant relationships were determined between any of the four hydrological variables and floodplain surface complexity.

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author
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences
volume
20
issue
1
pages
11 pages
publisher
European Geophysical Society
external identifiers
  • scopus:84956645528
ISSN
1027-5606
DOI
10.5194/hess-20-431-2016
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
f22478eb-3d67-4ba2-a187-2e110f244385
date added to LUP
2017-02-20 13:46:33
date last changed
2017-05-31 10:40:46
@article{f22478eb-3d67-4ba2-a187-2e110f244385,
  abstract     = {<p>Floodplain surface topography is an important component of floodplain ecosystems. It is the primary physical template upon which ecosystem processes are acted out, and complexity in this template can contribute to the high biodiversity and productivity of floodplain ecosystems. There has been a limited appreciation of floodplain surface complexity because of the traditional focus on temporal variability in floodplains as well as limitations to quantifying spatial complexity. An index of floodplain surface complexity (FSC) is developed in this paper and applied to eight floodplains from different geographic settings. The index is based on two key indicators of complexity, variability in surface geometry (VSG) and the spatial organisation of surface conditions (SPO), and was determined at three sampling scales. FSC, VSG, and SPO varied between the eight floodplains and these differences depended upon sampling scale. Relationships between these measures of spatial complexity and seven geomorphological and hydrological drivers were investigated. There was a significant decline in all complexity measures with increasing floodplain width, which was explained by either a power, logarithmic, or exponential function. There was an initial rapid decline in surface complexity as floodplain width increased from 1.5 to 5 km, followed by little change in floodplains wider than 10 km. VSG also increased significantly with increasing sediment yield. No significant relationships were determined between any of the four hydrological variables and floodplain surface complexity.</p>},
  author       = {Scown, M. W. and Thoms, M. C. and De Jager, N. R.},
  issn         = {1027-5606},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {01},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {431--441},
  publisher    = {European Geophysical Society},
  series       = {Hydrology and Earth System Sciences},
  title        = {An index of floodplain surface complexity},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/hess-20-431-2016},
  volume       = {20},
  year         = {2016},
}