EGU General Assembly 2007
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  Information - HS49 Dryland hydrology

Event Information
Following successful sessions in 2005 and 2006, it is clear that dryland hydrology is an area of active research, and one that is in an active state of development which has lagged behind advances in humid area research. This has been due both to the difficulty in obtaining meaningful measurements in areas that are sparsely populated, and often considered to be of lower economic significance, as is shown, for instance, by their low priority within the EU Water Framework Directive; and by the lack of secure conceptual frameworks for structuring and focussing field observations.

This Dryland Hydrology session is again concerned with improving our understanding of the distinctive hydrological processes in semi-arid areas, where Water, Sediment and Solute transfer processes are constrained by the absence of surface flow in the dry season, during which material is deposited on the bed or held in slow-moving subsurface waters. Because flow is less continuous than for humid areas, there are also less historic stream gauge and rainfall records for semi-arid areas, and the time required to obtain a reliable record is even longer. Coupled with storm frequency distributions that, in many areas, show more extreme behaviour in both time and space, the challenges of forecasting flash floods for both gauged and ungauged catchments is very severe.

Topics of particular interest within this session include:
local runoff generation which is dominated by vertical exchanges, and by the co-evolution of vegetation and soils to create patchworks of sources and sinks
connectivity of runoff pathways from hillslope to channel
dynamics of channel and flood-plain exchanges within valley bottoms.
seasonal (or rarer episodic) switches between a semi-arid and a more humid response, and the intricate dynamic of the switching transitions
modelling dryland processes at a range of time and space scales, from long term water balance to flood, sediment and solute dynamics
field and laboratory experimental data coupled to models for intra-bed transformation processes and first flush responses.
implementation of sustainable catchment management for semi-arid areas.

Preliminary List of Solicited Speakers


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