EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Characterizing temporary stream dynamics: the Stream Length Duration Curve

Nicola Durighetto1, Anfonso Senatore2, and Gianluca Botter1
Nicola Durighetto et al.
  • 1Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, University of Padua, Padua, Italy
  • 2Department of Environmental Engineering, University of Calabria, Italy

Temporary streams (i.e. streams that temporarily cease to flow) are becoming a hot research topic in hydrology. These streams provide an invaluable contribution to riverine ecosystems, as they host a variety of habitats (from lotic to lentic and terrestrial) which sustain high biodiversity. Temporary streams can be found in different regions of the world and are characterized by strongly heterogeneous flow patterns, from flashy streams that flow only after rainfall events to rivers that episodically experience droughts. Many recent studies investigated temporary streams, originating interesting observational datasets about event-based or seasonal network dynamics. Empirical or conceptual models are usually employed for assessing the main physical drivers of network dynamics in each specific study site.
In this contribution, we develop and apply novel theoretical tools to understand how the local statistical properties of each reach of the network affect the catchment-scale variability of the active length. In particular, the Stream Length Duration Curve (SLDC) is proposed to efficiently summarize catchment-scale dynamics of the active length, providing an objective way to quantify network dynamics. The concept of SLDC is applied to a number of Italian headwater catchments, where data about temporal changes in the configuration of the flowing stream are available, providing a clue for the characterization of emergent temporal and spatial patterns of network dynamics. The Stream Length Duration Curve can facilitate comparisons across different catchments an time periods, possibly enabling and objective classification of temporary streams. 

How to cite: Durighetto, N., Senatore, A., and Botter, G.: Characterizing temporary stream dynamics: the Stream Length Duration Curve, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-7897,, 2021.


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