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CEE Professor Thanos Papanicolaou and Team Create Improved Hillslope Waterflow Model, Publish Findings

Thanos PapanicolaouCEE Professor Thanos Papanicolaou and his team have published a new study entitled “Flow Resistance Interactions on Hillslopes With Heterogeneous Attributes: Effects on Runoff Hydrograph Characteristics.” Other contributors include Professor Dimitrios Dermisis at McNeese University, Dennis Flanagan and James Frankenberger at Agricultural Research Service and Ken Wacha at USDA-National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment, along with UT graduate students Benjamin Abban and Christos Giannopoulos.

The team devised an improved modeling framework for capturing the effects of space and time-variant resistance to overland flow for intensively managed landscapes. The enhanced model accounts for spatiotemporal changes in flow resistance along a hillslope due to changes in roughness, in profile curvature, and downslope variability. The model is used to quantify the degree of influence — from individual soil grains to aggregates, “isolated roughness elements,” and vegetation — on overland flow characteristics under different storm magnitudes, downslope gradients, and profile curvatures. The new modeling contribution can incorporate satellite or hyperspectral data along with LiDAR to be able to model changes in the landscape at high resolution. The practical of the study is that the model can be used to determine the placement of BMPs and quantify the downstream effects of practices.

Read the full paper here.