Hydraulic Causes for Basin Hydrograph Skewness

Walter Collischonn, Ayan Fleischmann, Rodrigo C.D. Paiva, Alfonso Mejia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


It has been suggested that hydrograph skewness depends on the relative dominance between hillslope and channel network transport processes, where the former ones make the hydrograph positively skewed while the latter tends to make it negatively skewed. More recently, however, the role of river hydraulics in shaping the hydrograph has been highlighted. We present a set of numerical modeling experiments using a hydrodynamic model of river networks in which we investigate how channel hydraulics influence the shape of the hydrograph, particularly its skewness. We further investigate the influence of base flow, rainfall intensity, cross section geometry, and basin scale on unit hydrograph response. We show that river hydraulics has a decisive role because positively skewed hydrographs may occur even when water inputs to the river network are negatively skewed, and in catchments whose width function is also negatively skewed. We show additional results related to the effect of the degree of nonlinearity in the relationship between celerity and discharge, the effects of base flow and rainfall intensity. These further confirm that hydraulic factors may be decisive in determining hydrograph shape.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10603-10618
Number of pages16
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology


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