Fully-coupled hydrologic processes for modeling landscape evolution

Yu Zhang, Rudy Slingerland, Christopher Duffy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Although current landscape evolution models can predict landscapes with specific concave-convex slopes, regolith thicknesses, drainage densities and relief, these models rarely include realistic groundwater and overland flows, and channel-hillslope interactions. To overcome the potential drawbacks, this study couples hydrologic processes with hillslope and channel sediment transport processes to form a new hydrologic-morphodynamic model (LE-PIHM) for regolith formation and landscape evolution. Two scenarios with and without groundwater flow are presented to demonstrate the importance of this coupling. Comparison of the steady state landforms indicates that hillslopes are steeper and relief is higher with groundwater flow. The sensitivity of the solution to mesh geometry is tested and it is shown that model simulations maintain the characteristic features of a landscape over a reasonable range of maximum area and minimum interior angle. To predict long-term landscape change, a morphological acceleration technique is presented and a method for choosing an optimal morphological scale factor is introduced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-107
Number of pages19
JournalEnvironmental Modelling and Software
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Ecological Modeling


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