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I

WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH

DECEMBER 1979

SOL 15. NO. 6

The Geomorphologic Structure of Hydrologic Response


IGNACIO RODRiGUEZ-lTURBE AND JUAN B. VALDES
Graduate Program in Hydrology and Water Resources, Universidad Simon Bolivar, Caracas, Venezuela
A unifying synthesis of the hydrologic response of a catchment to surface '^^fSffvSJ&
ing the instantaneous unit hydrograph (IUH) with the geomorphologic parameters of a basin. Equations
of Eeneral character are derived which express the IUH as a function of Horton s numbers RA, R, and
an in emal Sa e parameter La; and a mean velocity of streamBow v. The IUH is time varying .n
fharaSte? SS.throughout the storm and for different storms. This variability is accounted for by the varabu ty n th mean streamflow velocity. The underlying unity in the nature of the V""****
ture is thus carried over to the great variety of hydrologic responses that occur in nature. An approach is
initiated to the problem of hydrologic similarity.

Introduction
The quantitative analysis of drainage networks has gone
through dramatic advances since the 1%0's, mainly after
Shrews [1966] classical paper which led the way for a theoret,cal foundation of Horton's well-known empirical laws and
provided a new perspective for many other problems in fluvial
geomorphology. Although these developments are of great
.mportance for hydrologists, there has been a void in the cou
pling of quantitative geomorphoiogical analysis with the most
important hydrologic variable, namely, the streamflow rekponsc to surface runoff of the geomorphoiogical unity, the
aaiershed. This paper is a first step in that direction with the
conviction that the search for a theoretical coupling of quanmalive geomorphology and hydrology is an area which will
provide some of the most exciting and basic developments of
hvdrology in the future.
Figure 1 shows a hypothetical watershed with the Strahler
ordering procedure: (1) Channels that originate at a source are
defined to be first-order streams. (2) When two streams of or
der oj join, a stream of order a + 1 is created. (3) When two
streams of different order join, the channel segment immedi
ately downstream has the higher of the orders of the two com
bining streams. The quantitative expressions of Horton's laws
are
Law of stream numbers
NJN^t = R1
Law of stream lengths
LJL^ = RL
Law of stream areas
AJA^ = R,

A basic question at this moment is, Given an ordered sys


tem of the geomorphologic elements of a basin and given that
this system, in all its many possible forms and natural appear
ances, is well described by laws which respond to well-defined
theories [Shreve, 1966, 1967], is there a manner to relate this
order to hydrologic response characteristics? The implications
of such a question are many. Basically, an understanding
would be provided of the role of the geomorphologic proper
ties in watershed hydrology instead of the so many and not
very illuminating regressions we keep using in the field. The
above question also holds the key for flood analysis in areas of
insufficient or inexistent data as well as for the transposition
of rainfall-runoff event data from one basin to another.
Hydrologists are familiar with the fantastic variety of forms
and shapes that drainage networks may possess, and they are
familiar with the variety of ways that nature may respond to
precipitation inputs into a watershed. We know now that
those shapes and forms of the drainage basin arise in their in
finite variety from some basic themes, the geomorphoiogical
laws, that nature plays to interpret the structures we encounter
in natural watersheds. It seems to us that there also should ex
ist some basic themes in the structure of the hydrologic re
sponse of a basin.' These themes should be related to the na
ture of the geomorphoiogical structure and should contain the
key to the grand synthesis which hydrologists always dream
of. Many researchers long ago declared that this synthesis
could never be quite attained. We do not share this view.
Even more important is the point that just the quest for the
key or for pieces of it at least will lead to exciting new per
spectives in hydrology and will get not only into the questions,
What will happen . . . ?, but even more importantly into the
questions, Why will it happen ... ?, from which we seem to
have been drifting during the last years because of pressing
operational problems.
The search for a link between geomorphologic la-*s and hy
drologic response needs some measure of description of the
hydrologic response structure of a basin. The description used
here is the instantaneous unit hydrograph (IUH) that is equiv
alent to the unit impulse response function of the basin.

[Schumm, 1956] where N is the number of streams of order ta,


L is the mean length of streams of order w, and Au is the
mean area of the basins of order o. R* RL, and RA represent
the bifurcation ratio, the length ratio, and the area ratio whose
values in nature are normally between 3 and 5 for RB, be
tween 1.5 and 3.5 for RL, and between 3 and 6 for RA.
The Time History of One Drop
A detailed description of channel networks (which also
of Effective Rainfall
presents an outstanding synthesis of the geomorphologic as
pects of interest in hydrologic response analysis) is that of
Consider a watershed such as the one in Figure 1 with a
Smart [1972]. We refer to Smart's work for an in-depth under bucket at the outlet of the basin. We are interested in how fast
standing of many of the implications of the above laws.
the bucket is filled when a volume of rainfall excess of certain
temporal and spatial characteristics is imposed on the waterCopyright 1979 by the American Geophysical Union.
1
4
0
9
Paper number 9W0943.
0043-1397/79/009W-0943S01.00

1410

RODRIGUEZ-ITURBE AND VaLDES: HYDROLOGIC RESPONSE

shed. To make things simpler and to generalize the results, as


sume the: input is a unit volume of effective precipitation uni
formly distributed over the basin and instantaneously
imposed upon it. The bucket at the outlet will start empty and
will reach a final volume equal to the total volume of rainfall
excess over the basin. A plot of this volume throughout time is
he cumulative response of the basin, or what is the same, the
total volume yielded as output up to a certain time t,
volume (/)= j\(t) dt = V(t) (J)
The derivative of the observed V(t) gives the hydrograph of
discharges ,(,) resulting from the rainfall input. Thif hydro
fheaPnrev " ^ "^ A *** a " which *> look at
raL aTdTnUHtIOn ^ * * ""* fr the Probab^ that
the bucket
h" J ,atPtime
Sen
randm
from the
^s reached
t. A 3t
function
describing
this***
probability
wW

rePaPcer.inr f T " ^ X "** 3t at the %h 3


Fi/ure f T k ^ tUne 8eS t0 ^ The ordinate axis of
L the n T, r TeTPmed 3S the Percentaee of drP* reach-

X in H Th h6 WatCrShed at tlme 'aDd thuS is e'u^nt


of the bTsm ,VaUVe f ^ " fa FigUre 2' ^ the IU"
A Statistical Framework for the IUH
f^W [1964] provided an approach to the study of the
annrnlT 2 isP necessarily
* StatlStiCal
mechanic*'
of view.
Our
approach
different,
since point
we want
the geo7ttrTuTT l ^ 3n eXpUcit roIe- The Nation
reached" thetlM l ' "*** **> ChSen at random h-

t,etattune'wu
i betack,edb*******
1. State is the order of the stream in which the drop is lo

th If lT '" ^en thC drP iS Sti11 - the overland'pha e,


ect ! A
A drop
dror!may
Kf
thC in
Stream
t0 WhiCh
the land
**" di
rectly.
begin
any state,
but all drops
eventually
terminate m the highest numbered state, 0 + L
2. Transition is the change of state.
J' r**^.DUmber f StatCS'ie' '+ *' where " the or
der^ the basm and the extra state is the bucket or trapping
maTHhe,HPrbtbiIiStiC
descriPtion
of matrix:
^ drainage network is
made
through its transition
probability
Pxi

P\2

P\3

Pzi

^
Pl2

P-a ^

Pm

PN2

PN3

Trapping state

Fig. 1. Third-order basin with Strahler's ordering system and its


trapping state.
where m each time step the drop made a transition (or, in
other words, we were worried about the number of transitions
and not interested in the time dimension as such) then P
would be enough to describe the situation. But transitions oc
cur at various times, not at the same time. Indeed, because
there are an infinite number of drops and because time is
treated as being continous, the simple concepts of Markov
chains do not apply without modification to this problem
Suppose, nevertheless and for the moment, that in each time
step the drop makes a transition, and suppose that the transi
tion from one state to the next state only depends on the state
where the drop is at this monent (Markovian hypothesis
which is reasonable), then our problem would be reduced to
finding the state probability matrix G(n):

Pin
P2N

Pnn

where p ,s the probability that the drop makes a transition


from state , to state/ This is the same as the proportion of
0(n) = O(0) &(n) m 0(0) P" (3)
drops that, having entered state /, move next to state/. The
where 9(#i) is a row vector whose elements tin) give the prob
Nik state is the bucket which is a trapping state.
The P matrix is not enough to describe the basin for our ability that the process (drop) is found in state I at step n. The
purposes because it does not take into account the dynamic matrix (n) is the multistep transition probability matrix
characteristics which influence the time a drop spends in a whose elements &/) give the probability that the process
goes from state / to state j after n transitions. Vector 6(0) is
state on its way to the outlet.
the initial state probability vector (a row vector) whose ele
If the process of a drop going through the basin were one
ments 8.(0) give the probability that the process starts at state i

and us

(or. in
sitions
hen P
ns ocecause
ime is
iarkov
)blem.
i time
ransi.* stale
thesis,
;ed to

RODRlGUEZ-lTURBE AND VALDES: HYDROLOGIC RESPONSE

1411

or, in other words, that the drops starts its travel in a stream of
Equation (6) will not take us very far because it is quite dif
order i.
ficult to solve and it is impossible to generalize the results.
Unfortunately, the simple scheme described above is not Nevertheless, we can make two assumptions which make
applicable to our problem because the state at a given time things considerably simpler:
depends on the time between transitions as well as the number
1. Holding times ru are independent of destination state.
of steps, or transitions, to reach a certain state. In a watershed Then
die time between transitions depends on the location of the
drop because different streams in the same catchment have
hfr) = wfr)
different dynamic characteristics. We think of this as a semiP D H(t) = W(t) P(t)
Markovian process whose successive state occupancies are
2. Times between events are well described by the func
governed by the transition probabilities of a Markov process
but whose time of stay in any state is described by a random tionally appealing exponential density function. Thus the
variable that depends on the state presently occupied and on waiting time of the drop on a stream of order i is given by
ihe state to which the next transition will be made. Thus at
w,(t) = A,-A'r >w,{t) = e~k'r
transition instants the semi-Markovian process behaves just
like a Markov process. We call this process the imbedded where A, is a different mean waiting time for each stream or
Markov process. Nevertheless, the times at which transitions der.
occur are governed by a different probabilistic mechanism.
Assumption 1 is quite realistic for the traveling of a drop;
assumption 2 will be shown to be a reasonable hypothesis
The Formal Model
later on in this paper.
The order of the streams occupied by the drop on successive
The mean waiting time matrix is A"1, where
iransitions are governed by the transition probabilities p0 of
the imbedded Markov process. But the time Ty that the drop
0
will spend in state i before making a transition to state j is a
0
random variable that can take on any positive value with
A =
probability density function h0(r). We define now an uncon
A3
ditional waiting time in state /', t as the time spent by the
drop in state /' when one does not know its successor state. The
r, is a random variable described by the waiting time density
function
the A, being the inverse of the mean waiting time in streams of
order /.
N
The two previous hypotheses allow a drastic simplification
W-(t)=
I>A(t)
(4)
/-
of (6). Defining a transition rate matrix as
Following Howard[1971], we can define
A m A(P - I)
H( ) matrix of holding time density functions, NX N;
W( ) Nx N diagonal matrix whose rth diagonal element
is the unconditional waiting time density function
h>< );

*W( ) N X N diagonal matrix whose /th diagonal element


is the complementary cumulative distribution
>'.{0 = S^.>,yProb[riy>/].

_A, X Pi, ^iPn AiPia


A =

-*a 2 Py ^iPi
J>2

In this general model of the continuous time semi-Markov


process the interval transition probabiliiies are given by How
ard [1971]:
(2)

UO = VX') +

... 0

dr hMM - r) (5)
i=l,2,-,N

j=i2,-,N

where $,//) represents the probability for the drop to go from


state / to state j in the time interval / and S is
(3)

>robThe
atrix
)cess
0) is
eleate i

In matrix notation,

80 = 0 i*j

*(0 = >W(/) + J dr[P D H(t)]*(* - r) (6)


Volume(t) Lf(t)dt'V()l dV(t) lUH(t)a (t)

where the operation P D H(t) stands for multiplication of cor


responding elements.

dt

Fig. 2. Effective rainfall volume collected at the trapping state as


function of time, resulting from a unit input of precipitation.

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(91)

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(W)

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in)

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SB
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si siqj joj uosbsj sqx tSJSlsuiBJBd Di9oioqdjouios9 jo suou
-sunj sb (0)'^ sqj puB "rfsqj sssjdxs XqM '(suibsjjs jspjo-pjiip
pUB Jspjo-puosss OJUI 9uiUIBJp SIUBSJJS jspjo-jsjy JO uou
-jodojd sqj) t'(/puB -'Jsb ijsm sb (8i) ui (0)'^ suijsi sqi sdrui
IBaiqdBj9odoj ujojj ssbs qsBs ui Xjpsjip ajnduioa ubo 3m irqi
uaAi9 'asuB Xbui uoijssnb sqx 'tld puB z>d SABq X|uo 3M un
-sq jspjo-pjiq, aqj joj :/"japjo jo uibsjjs b oj ; jspjo jo uibsjjs
b mojj sso9 dojp b jBqj XjijiqBqojd sqj joj spuBjs "d sqx 'SJ;,1
-suiBJBd iBoi9oioqdjoiuo3g sqj oj Xpasjip psjBjSJ sq ubd SiOWl
d sqx -suijsj "t/sqj puB suijsj 'y sqj 'Xisuibu 'ip/(i)N'4>p dn All
-jjbui suijsj jo ssdXj omj sjb sjsqj jspjo Xub jo uissq b joj
sjsqumu uojjoh si9o|oqdjoujos9 sqi 01
suijsj ip/(j)<t>p sqj pus siujsj (o)'^ sqj sjbjsj oj si iboS jno

sjum usqj Xbui s^a


(61)

FNZ->N).Lzl
A/ + zNZ
si suibsjjs jspjo-puosss OJUI mBjp
JBqj 1 jspjo jo suibsjjs jo jsqtunu sqj sSbjsab sqj uo snqx
IW

oy*9p

(O)l0 + 7^7 (0)1


0)PZ9P
IP

"> ?-(0),'-W-WHni
mou si uiSBq jspjo-pjiqj sqj joj HHI 3UJ-

3SNOdS3y DioonoyaAH :sgaivA qnv 38anxi-z:-inD|iiaoy

-i

suo dijshbsj b uoijdums


-sb jBijusuodxs sqj Sui^buj 'ui3uo sqj oj jssop usas sq nm
spout sqj usqj 'uiSuo sqj oj (sssodjnd jno joj) ssop 'SAoqs
nsss SABq sm sb si uoijnqujsip siqj jo ubsiu sqj ji tsssuMs^s
aAijisod pus ojsz jb Suijjbjs sdXj buiuibS b sjrr| Suiqjsiuos
sq rpM sun, Suijibm sqj joj uoijnqujsip snjj sqx (uim oi jo
stbajsjui 'siduiBxs joj) Hfll sqi SuijBunjss sq ijiav sm qoiqM
m stbajsjui om, jsjtj sqj ui pszqBDOi sq oj smsss dojp b jo
sun, 3uijiBM sSbjsab sqj suisBq JspJo-JsSjBj u! Japjo jssqSiq
sqj jo smBSJjs Suoj joj jdssxs snqx uiui %\ jnoqB si uibsjjs
jspjo-pnqj spqM sqj Suiisabjj dojp sqj joj ssuspissj jo sunj
sqj (ui 0S33 = E7) = 7jf ub qjiAA uibsjjs jspjo-jsjy sSbjs
-ab sqj jo ssjnos ajoqM sqj StmsABJj sdojp ssoq, joj uim gjj
si ssuspissj jo arori, sqj smBSJjs jspjo-jsjy sqj jo j -s/ui 3 jo
XjpoiSA b stunssB puB ui n,3 = <y qjiM jspjo *Abs 'jo UISBq b
jspreuoo ;suo sjqrqjOM b sjinb n ji psj saa u jspjo jo smBSJjs
joj sunj Sutjibm sqj 3uiqusssp sjqBUBA uiopiiBJ sqj joj uoij
-nqujsip jBijusuodxs ub jo uondumssB sqj si oijsqBSJ moh
ssnodssj sqj jo jusuoduioo oiuiBuXp sqj puB josjjs szis b qjoq
utbjuod pjnoqs qoiqM "y sqj ui sq pjnoqs uoijBAJSsqo SAoqB
sqj joj uosbsj sqj 'y jo 'ffy lKy uo pusdsp jou ssop sibds sqj
SOUIS SSIBDS JUSJSJJip JB SdBqS SUIBS Sqj SABq 'UOIJDipBJJUOD
9uiuisss ui puB 'sunj smss sqj jb 'jsX puB 'sjeos ui sSuBqo
b oj ssuodssj tn Hfll JPqi jo sdBqs sqj suBqs ubd suis
-Bq jsau JBqj mou3( Syw 'y sqj pus 'y jspjo psqsjsjBM sqj 'ffy
'Ky jo uoijounj b sb pssssjdxa ussq SBq (6|) Xq Hfll 3qi
sjnjsnjjs oiSoipqdjouiosS sqj oj psjjuq
sq oj SABq ijim Xjisssosu Xq ssuosqj sssqj ssuodssj diSoj
-OjpXq sqj jo sjnjonjjs sqj oj jssdssj u\ JsjDBJBqo ibjsuss jo
ssuosqj oynusps doisAsp oj Xjbsssdsu sq jiim ji 'Busmousqd
Di9ojojpXq jo pjjom sqj uiBidxs ox .Busuiousqd jo pjjom
sqj jo SuipUBjsjspun ub ssqdun subsui ou Xq sajdpuud sqj jo
SmpuBjsjspun ub ssjdpuud poojsjspun Xijusjjns puoXsq
sq JBqj sjnjsu jo suijbsj ssoqj jo uoijBJOidxs sqj sjiuiqsp
januojj jboisjxs sqj, 'sousps jo jsijuojj |bujsjxs sqj jo uoijiui
-jap siq ui ji jnd XnnjijnBsq [z.Z.61 jV<ftW/ sy uisqj gumiBid
-xs puB SuipuBjsjspun uiojj sn sjusASjd Busmousqd sqj jo
Xjixsiduios jusjBddB sqj jnq 'umoujj sq oj psAsqsq sjb ssuods
-sj DiSopjpXq sqj SuiujsaoS ssjdpuud oissq sqj jo jsojaj sui
-SBq JSAU JBJnjBU UI SABq soijbj uouoh JBqj uoijbuba jo sSubj
pBuis sqj sjspisuoo suo usqM jpqdxs sjom usas si siqx so^ds
jo sjuibjjsuod sqj Xq psppsp sjb psqsjsjBM b jo ssjnquj
-jb sqj Moq XrrBOijBuiBjp Moqs XSoioqdiouiosS SAijBjijuBnb jo
ssouBApB 9mjDBdun sqj 'jsdsd siqj in jsqjBS psuoijusui sy

joj dn S5JBUI qatqM 'j - / jspjo jo swbsjjs omj sqj uiojj suiod
ijim msqj jo jsom 7 jspjo jo uibsjjs b qSnojqj Suiisabjj sdojp
sjspisuoo suo usqAA isdBd siqj ui usjjbj sisXjbub jo jjjom
-suibjj sqj jspun smij Suijibm uibsjjs sqj jo jBqj UBqj jsqBUis
JsqjBJ sq oj sjBsddB sunj Suijibm pubjjsao sqj jo sdubj
-jodun sqx MoymBSJjs sb jusds suiij sqj puB Moy puBUSAO
sb jusds suiij sqj qjoq jo spsm ussq SBq uoijBJSpisuoo usqM
; sjbjs in dojp b Xq jusds smij ubsiu sqj si ,_'y 'jsuubui siqj uj
(Z.3)

_'y = [; sjbjs ui smij Suijibm] 3

sjojsjsqx 'Y JSJsuiBJBd qjiM


psjnqujsip XjjBijusuodxs sjqBUBA mopuBJ e aq oj psuinsss
si; jspjo jo sjbjs b in dojp b jo sunj Suijibm sqx ( '3 'I = ;)'y
sjsjsmBJBd sqj sjb jsuubui tbjsusS b ui pssssjdxs sq oj suus,
SuiuiBmsj Xpio sqj '(6i) oj ^osq Suioq s^jomjsu sSbuibjp jo
jusmdopAap DiSojodoj uiopirej jo uoijdumssB DiSBq sq, uiojj
motjoj suopoujssj sssqj ssbo Xub ui smsBq sSbuibjp jo Xpnjs
sqj joj suoijBjiunj jofem ssodmi oj uisss jou ssop '(SmuBsm
ou SABq ssjnoo jo qoiqM) (0)'g saijbSsu js9 Xbw suo y puB
Ky jo ssniBA iBnsnun XjqSiq joj jBqj 'uisjqojd iBDijBiusqjBui
SAoqB sqx pqBA nijs si uoijBzqBJSusS sqj sssbd jsom ui
'31 UBqj ssniBA JsqBuis qsnm joj usah -31 < a}j/v^ oijbj sqj
JSASjsqM jno psujBD sq ubd ffy puB ^ jo uoijounj b sb (o)'#
sqj jo uoijBzqBJsusS sqj jBqj pspnpuoo sm suoijBnbs sqj jo
uoijBniBAS siduns b mojj (q)'6 Jspjo-jsqSiq joj "y/^-y oijbj
sqj in jBsddB suoijdujssj jsqjo 'XpBiimis sx < 'y spssu XpjB
-ipsuraii suo y jsqjo Xub joj jo = ^ joj (0)'^ jo uoisssjdxs
sqj uiojj snqx I = (O>'0 '3 osjb puB \ puB ojsz ussMjsq sq oj
3ABq (O)'0 sqj lis 'XjsnoiAqo S5fBj ubd *y puB "y qsiqM ssnjBA
sqj uo pssoduii suoijdujssj iBDijBuisqjBui auios sjb sjsqx

(93)

\-"VZ

(z + ^i-svru

7- -17^ - 1 - (O)l0
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'A/3-

I -'NZ
(ZNZ - *N)ZN - , N \ , V - Z V Z N - - LV

usjjUM sq usqj ubd


ujbsjjs Jspjo-pjiqj sqj ojui XpDSjqp SuiuiBJp Jy bsjb sqx
ssaaojd ao5jjbj\
snonunuoa b sb uiseq japjo-pjiqj b jo uonBiuasajda-y

SJ

WSIMVHD3JAJ 3WIX ONUIVAA 3HX

aqj jo Xjpqduns aqj utbjuibui oj japjo ui sssXibub


jou sbm siqj 'ssajaqusASM jsdBd siqj ui psjusssjd
sqj jspun Moy pubusao sq jspjo jsjy sqj sjjbui
Jspjo mBSjjs s.uouoh pusjxs oj sjqissod sq osib

sjjnssj
jno ui auop
jjjom smBJj
oj jdsauoD
pjnoM jj

'Hfll IIBJSAO
sqj m souBUodun jouim jo sq oj psjspisuoo ssspqjjsAsu
si sunj siqj 'sbsjb j jspjo sqj jo szis jsijbujs sqj jo ssnBosq
JSUrtJ 9UIJIBM pUBJJSAO Xq psjosjjB sjb 'uoijBjidpsjd JSUUBqD
joj jdsDxs 'sdojp sqj jo jsotu jBqj jssdxs suo pjnoM ] jspjo jo
suibsjjs joj Xjno smn 9uijibm MoymBSJjs sqj sq rjtM 1 sibjs ui
sunj Suijibm uBsm sqj suusj sSbjsab ui jBqj psj sm snqj puB
'ssuo SAoqB sqj UBqj 'jbjsus9 ui 'jsmsj XjqEJspisuoD jsquinu
ui sjb sdojp sssqx 7 Jspjo jo mBSJjs sqj ojui Moy puBjJSAO Xq
Xjjdsjtp SuiuiBJp ssoqj sq yiM smij Suijibm pubjjsao Xq psjDaj
-jb sdojp Xtuo aqx 7 Jspjo jo uibsjjs jno jo sjnoj sqj Suojb
qsrqM smBSJjs XiBjnquj uiojj jo 'uoijssnb ui mBSjjs sqj
asNOdSHy DiooioyoAH :s3qiva qnv Haynxi-zanojyao^

t'lt'I

ujojj punoj unjnd Xsusnbsjj psxy jo sSjBqssip b 9uunp


utbsjjsumop 3upuBAPB usqM X,poPA sq, in ,USUISJDm hbuis
ajsa b Xjosq, ui 3uionpojd 'sdois jo sjdsjjs sq, joj sjBsusduios
treq, sjora sssuqSnoj Xjqissod Pub 'q,dsp 'q,p,M m ss3uBqD
Hbuis Xjsa si uisBq sq, ,noqnojq, Xsusnbsjj usaiS jo
sSjBqssip b 3uuspisuoo usqM uoipsjip uibsj,sumoP sq, m X,i
ooisa ui sSuBqs sq, ,Bq, Moqs jjsoppBjAi puB pjodosx [Z.Z.6I]
nySUJ Aq suo jusosj ,som sq, <ssipn,s Xubui Xq ps,BpiiBA
ArrBjusuruadxs ussq SBq Pub [es6I] i/jappon P Plodon
jo 3fJ0M jssuoid sq, no pssBq si uoijdmnssB SAoqB.sqx

(0)

z-^V 'Y == EY -7tf-'Y = rY

- V

ssuiossq xujbui sjbj uoijisubjj sq, puB

'7/ = 'Y

ssqdun qoiq/i.\
(3)

0 Y3 Y30
0
rY

0
0
0
Z Y-

0 o n ^ Y " f fl y ' y -

"3U0MJSU SBUIBjp
siotjjM sq, ,noq3nojq, sujbs sq, Xp,BunxojddB si ,usuioui Xub
jb XjtsopA sq, jusas jjounj-UBjuiiBj usaiS b joj jBqj SuiumssB

()

0
0
0
rY3 EY3- 0

(63)

= d

'7/='X

jasuiqojBO sqj in XjpopA MoyuiBsjjs sbjsab sqj sq <t jst a


-ubtu qduns b ui psppB, sq uBosiqj 'ssspquaAsu iuisBq sqj jo 0

" d
0
z'd
0
O iapjo sqj oj innbs 'y JO jsquinu B pssu 3AA ssuodssj sqj jo L
JUSUOdUJOD DIUIBUXp sq, PUB JDSJJS S,BDS JO SZIS B qjoq UIBJUOD
ppioqs 'y sqi 'uonsas siq, jo SuiuinSsq sqj jb psssnssip sV
S] xujbui XjqiqBqojd
. uotjisubj,
A qsqj e ^pJO
u s JO
a i SuisBq b jo
m oj u
3uibs
sqj
Xijdbxs
suibuisj
uisqj
urejqo
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bjjxs sqj Xq psjssjjBun sjb Xsip ssu.s 'sjojsq usaiS sb ujbiusj
3qj jnq (Sl) Pub '(w) '(n) Xq uaAIg Qytf pUB .(;)0 ( )WJ
sjsqumu uouoH sqj jo uoijounj sb V ssijqiqBqojd uoijisubt, suoisssjdss sqj ssSuBqs a sjbjs bjjxs sq, jo uoijdopB aqj
sqr Joj Pub (Oy0 ssijqiqBqojd reijnr. sq, joj suoijBnbs'sqx
"i-7^ = ,-cYJ anjBA UBaiu qitM
,JiBjs mou
_ , mM upnB
i S utp,(i)^p
o
o
o j s siqj
z ui ug)i ouisbo
jj
Xqq jUaA,Sj bs| (asBD
(83)
-qnS JSpjo-jssqiqq sqj oj Sutpuodssjjos Hfll .e.JJBd sqx
xrf_3Xjl/ = (x)t,M

_vy -1 = or
/ . ( Y- 5

ziSX-'Y)
(ZY-*EY3)ZY

-nqpjsip ,Bijuauodxa iBD.juap. q puB vo, uiissB aMWijs


i^pjo-pjiq, sq, jo sJsjDBJBqo D.mBuXp sqj oj'Suipuodsauo,
, Y jo aiini Suij.bm UBsm b pBq 'sjbjs jspjo-pnq, aq, 'Xbs
OJ si JBqj a puB D jo uoijBUiqmoD aqj jBqj qsiM aM japnq

M^y-W^y-'yM^y)]{F'WyJ'Y - zUWYjTy'Y + 'Y'YZ *Y*Y3 - zUz\)] - (~ (Y - ZY)('Y - f*)c,*Y&8Y = V


(ZY - >gY)(*cY - 'Y) r

[ud^Y\- YYjVy V
z(z\ - *CY)('Y ~ ZY) _ 3
</Yt(Y)

= zv

g ( ' Y- * c Y ) ( ' Y- z Y )=_ , y


rY-E,^YJt(cY)
puB CY3 = ,ty aJ3qM
ify-**V + ,.tY_a .;. ty + ,Zx_3*y + lly_3'y+ , m (;)si^,
Aq U3AI9 3JB (i ) ui smjsj SAIJB
-Auap aqx -0 = (0y$ ,Bq, ,DBJ 3UJ JO 9pBUJ U33q ^ gsn gj3^^

(I)
V
(0)^ + V (o)^ + v (0)tf = V = Hni
(/)"*/>
(;)SS^P
(;)^p
(/)s^
SpuiJ SUO 'XjSAIJDSdsSJ > PUB S3JBJS 0
PUB r; ssjbjs J3ujjoj Suutbd Pub g sjbjs js>pnq sqj 3uinBD

SIM

mou si uibsjjs Jspjo-pj,q, aqj joj ami, 9mm


sqj jo uoijnqujsip sqX > sjn3,j u, psJnjD.d si s,Bijuauodxo
omj asaqj jo inns aqj :,_Yg-0jo sami, 3u,jibm UBaiu qjiM suou

^J
spaaj
auo aqj
si qsiqM aq,
*q 0,u,
ajBjs Xpsajip
aqj oj passed
ajB sdojp
ssaqj
nvjBq,
mBSJis
jspjo-pjiqj
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ssoq, Pub 'suibsjjs Jspjo-jsjy jo UBd 'smBSJjs jspjo-puooas

olZ2Z ? 3qi S3APD3J


9,B,S "3qj
PUB
^ SSJBJS
OMJ Xq
p3jusssjdsj
si uibsjjs Z
jspjo-pjiqj
mou
,nq 'uiBajjs
jap
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JBqj sdijom -e = 0 3SB3 3q, J0J s?SBq 3UJ jo wn]3nj]S 3q, dn
3JfBm qsiqM susd jusjsjjip sqj ussMjsq suoijdsuuod sqj sajni
-old qsiqM ' aJn9ij m UMoqs si siqx snoAjasaj JBauq omI
sb pajuasajdaj XqBpyiuB si japjo jsaq9,q aqj jo mssqqns sq,
ssunj Suijibm sq, J0 suoijnqujsip jBijusuodxsuou joj auios
-isqmns Xpmsjjya samossq Xiosq, ^sijBmsqjBm sqj 3du!S
o
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-jsaqsiq aqj oj Suipuodssjjos uoijounj ssuodssj asitldroi J'un
IBiUBd sqj jo uiguo sq, ,B sjBuipjo sq, o, JBnbs ajBUipJO ur
JB jnq ojaz jb ubjs jou saop qsiqM msBq aioqM aqj joj qdw
-ojpXq b aanpojd jjim msajjs japjo-jsaq9iq aqj uiojj Soituoa
ssuodssj jo sdXj iBijusuodxs siqx Moyjno jo sdXj iBijuauod
-xs ub qjiM spuodssj jndui snosuBjuBjsui ub Xq pajWM
msBq sqj ,Bqj saqdun mBajjs japJO-jsaq9iq aqj joj siqx W
-Jsssj jBsuq b jo jBqj oj jusiBAinbs si uoijnqujsip jBijuauod"
ub jo uoijdumssB aqj ,Bq, jobj sqj s, jusyodmi sjoW l
jqSu sqj oj jjiqs oj subjs spoui sqj 'aJOjsq psssnssip sy I
:suosbsj omj joj uoijnqujsip jBijuauodva
sqj Ajipom oj jsjsjd sm jspjo jssqgiq aqj J0 uibsjjs sqj JOJ

3SNOdS3^ diooio^qah ^oiVA qnv saanii-zanojHaoy

"i.iuj;

1fc,3u.np sjb sansuajOBJBqa o3o,oqdjouoa3 aq, ,nq mTS2


Jnq paxg s, X,po,aA uaq* Hfll 3q, u, saSuBqo 3q] JO s^duiBxg s 3y
^,JW ^SJ

3~/*S-2 =A

S2= a'0S--aM'0-9--Va '0S2 = H

OB

(,-JM)b

aqj jo ssuspusdsp sqX sisXpniB Hni SuiXjBA-aunj sqj o, Xs*


aqj sn ssai jt uuojs suibs sq, jnoqSnojqj osib Pub mjojs oj
uuojS uiojj qjoq ssuba Hfll sqj jBq, sn s,pj j,_ iA XjisopA sqj
jo SuiUBsm sqj s, ,BqAA -7 JajsuiBJBd s,bds sq, Pub * XjisopA
*P y "* "V jo uoijstmj b sb HHI aqj pssssjdxs SABq saa
Hfll 3I0010HdHOW030 3HX
9UIAJBA SI A USqM SJSJSUIBJBd oioioqdjouios JO JSS SUIBS
aqj Joj psjnduios slHni jo ssiduiBxs SMoqs 9 sjn3ij Xjisoi
-sa psxy b q,iM ,nq sjsjsmBJBd sr3oioqdjouios sq, jo ssniBA
jusjsjjip joj psjnduioo slHni jo ssiduiBxs SMoqs g sjnSij

usdBd siqj ui jsjbi psjdmsjjb sq h,m qsiqM 'sissqj


-uXs ,bjsus9 b jo Xjqiqissod sqj ,ss9ns XpjB.psu.uii qs.UM
sspnjqiuns smos Moqs suoijBnbs 9uij,nssj sqx'c puB't%'cy ioj jno psujbd sbm HHI aqj jo uoi,bausP ibs.jXibub sqx
"V JO uoijounj sb 'y sqj ajUM Pub jojdbi
aiBDs sb 7 asn o, jajjaq s, j, ^ UBqj uo.s.aajd jsq9,q qj,M
ajnsBam oj jsisbs si *j ssu,S dj jsqjo Xub jo) -7 jojdbj szis
io sibos b puB ' rH 0]m U]gu3| UOJJOH 3q) ^ J3)3lLBJBd ^
-xp b jo Xrao uoijounj sb 'y sq, rre ssa,9 mou () uoi,Bnb3
UOIJDSJip UIBSJJSUMOp B UIJUBJSUOD
Aubsu sq oj spusj XjpopA s9bjsab sqj ,Bq, sjusuiusdxs jssbjj

utbsjjs J3Pjo-,Saq9,q aq, jb uoqounj Xjq.qBqojd am,, lun,** 3qi JO o!mnaswd^


> 9!J

3SNOdS3^ DiooioyaAH :s3aivA onv samLT-zsnojuaotf


9It>I

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f

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1(1

nt

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.e9 Hu xc / *j . u > "w
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11 I*111

oo IS ti:

'
1418

RODRlGUEZ-lTURBE AND VaLDES: HYDROLOGIC RESPONSE

.tp(hfs)

M0R0V1S

UNIBON

5.0

RB

3.2

40

2.7

E.8

2l.6(Kms)

22.4(Kms)

RL
Ln

12

56

V(mAec)

Fig. 7. Examples of the variation of the time to peak of the IUH as function of the flow velocity.
equations for all orders are related as will be shown in the
next section of this paper. It is important to notice at this mo
ment that different hydrologists may assign different fi to the
same basin, depending on judgment and the scale of the map.
RA, R, and R,, on the other hand, do not depend on the scale
of the map. Clearly, the IUH should be the same for both hy
drologists, but the equations are different in their functional
structure because they represent two differents $2. It turns out,
as the experiments of the next section show, that both IUH's
agree almost perfectly as long as one compares, say, an IUH
of fourth order with a certain L, with an IUH of third order

12

Fig. 8.

with ,* = L, R, maintaining in both cases the same RA, RB,


and /?,..
The Peak and Time to Peak of the IUH:
A Geomorphologic Synthesis
The most important characteristics of an IUH are the peak
qp and the time to peak tp. As long as these two factors are cor
rect, the exact form of the IUH is not very important, and a
triangular approximation is quite satisfactory [Henderson,
1963]. Unfortunately, the sum of exponential functions in the
IUH expression does not lend itself to mathematical manipu-

(mAec)

Examples of the variation of the peak of the IUH as a function of the flow velocity.

1419
RODRIGUEZ-ITURBE AND VALDES: HYDROLOGIC RESPONSE

For SI = 3 and L, = 1000 m the equations are

lion in order to obtain the maximum of the function. Thus


resorted
to aninaccurate
approximation
involving values
of
*a.and
, obtained
the computer
from the expressions
of the
ll'H for different velocities in the range 0.5-6 m/s and for fi
s 3 4, 5 with L, (the scale factor) varying from 125 to 2000 m.
rhese calculations were carried out for 126 combinations of
values of RB, Ra, and RL in the ranges 2.5-5.0, 3.0-6.0, and
, 5_4.1, For fixed RA, RB, Xz, Lx, and fi one notices that qp
jnd t are very simply related to the velocity v.
Figures 7 and 8 show the points obtained for qp and tp from
Lhe IUH equations for a typical computation and illustrate
how these points can be fitted extremely well by some simple
functional dependence with v. The chosen relationships are
(34)

e=\.3lRL-,sl

R2

0.991

(38)

k = 0MRBoibRA-O5iR,: " R2 = 0-992 (39)


The important point is that for fixed Q, the exponents of Rg,
RA, and RL variables remain practically the same for all values
of Li. The coefficient in front of the equation for both 6 and k
is in almost exact proportion to the size of , in all the ana
lyzed cases. In this manner, for fi = 3 we can write the general
equations
0=i.3i/L,-i?r157
/c = 0.44L1/?flO55^-o55/?z.162

(40>
(41)

where L, is expressed in kilometers, since we have used the


coefficients obtained for L, = 1000 m.
The role of 2 is detected when it is noticed that for the same
where 9 and k depend on RA, RB, RL, and fi. Equations L, one fids
(34) and (35) adjust extremely well the dependence of qp and
(42)
,. on v, the R2 are indistinguishable of 1, and, more important,
each value of the geomorphologically derived qp and tp was
(43)
compared with the ones yielded by (34) and (35). This was
carried out for all the 126 combinations of RB, RA, and RL
which are calculated for each L, and for each 2. In all cases, Notice that while fl is dependent on map scale and subjective
dilVerences between the exact values of the IUH equations judgment, the Horton numbers are not, and thus (36) and (37)
yield the same values of 9 and k for a basin that two hydrol
and those of (34) and (35) were under 10%.
The functional dependence of qp and tp on v contained in ogists may have identified with different fl. This is a conve
nient and necessary feature for the framework to have practi
(34) and (35) is somewhat expected; if one approximates the
cal value.
IUH with a triangle, then
Equations (42) and (43) hold extremely well for all the indi
(qP Q/2 = 1
vidual cases. One may then rewrite (40) and (41) for fl = 3 as
(35)

tP = k/v

where th stands for the base time or total duration of the IUH.
The th is the time that it takes the last drop of the unit impulse
rainfall to reach the outlet of the basin. Thus th is some length
over a certain velocity, and qp then will be a velocity over a
length. Therefore 9 and k have dimensions of L"1 and L, re
spectively.
The task is now to find the geomorphologic dependence of
6 and k. With fixed L, and ft a regression analysis was per
formed between the 126 combinations of RB, RA, and RL ver
sus 0 and A:. The regressions giving a better fit are of multipli
cative form, for example,

1.31
LaRi.

Rl

k = OMLuR^R^Ra-^Rl62
and for any 2 and any , one has
1
1.31
T Ti R l
LaRLl-u-- RlQ~3

k = OMLvR^R^Ra-^R^R"-'
which simplify to

k = aR/tR/iR^

With all the R2 above 0.97 and most of them above 0.99
they are shown in detail in the report by Rodriguez-Iturbe et
al.\\919\.
It is crucial to understand that the regression analyses per
formed here are not empirical; we knew the functional rela
tionship of the geomorphologic IUH, and thus the regressions
have to yield excellent fits. Their only purpose is of an opera
tional character in order to present general results which are
very difficult to obtain with straight mathematics from IUH
equations because their form, sum of exponentials, does not
lend itself to clean mathematics.
The generalization of the results may be better understood
in terms of an example taken from the computations. For a
third-order basin (ti = 3) and a size parameter L, = 500 m the
following regression equations are obtained for 9 and k:
5 = 2.61 R,;

R2 = 0.997

k = 0.22RBo5'RA-oi5RL,

(36)
R2 = 0.993

(37)

9=l.3l/Ln-RL043

(44)

k = 0MLaRBO55RA-oi5RL-"i

(45)

Equations (44) and (45) are the basic general equations which
allow the estimation of the peak and time to peak of the IUH
through the relations
qp = 6-v

t = k/v

In (44), 9 represents the slope of the line qp (h ') versus v


(m/s); thus with La in kilometers one estimates 6 by means of
(44) and multiplies its value by the velocity in meters per sec
ond to obtain qp (h"1). Similarly, the k obtained by (45), when
divided by v (m/s), gives the estimate of tp in hours.
It is interesting to notice that the product qp tp is independ
ent of the velocity v and the scale variable Lq. Calling this di
mensionless product IR, one may write
IR = qp-tp = 0.58(RB/RA)"-RL0

'

rx-ostQun,r* (46)

i^roStotoStfor each,basin and indicales "'

YWoarkd,.9R7,A-' Z>W"fr **** Sterns. John Wiley,!


Leopold, L. B., and T. Maddock Jr Tho hn .

servation has hf*n ~,o^ , CI"er r or q). This obesting role when trvinp to , I TY* cou,d P,ay an mterProbfem of hydr ^ SSSSVZ **" "d ***
trying
to
make
**LX^^+
logic response of different basins. * hydr0"
Conclusions

Rodriguez-Iturbe, I., J R ValH* n r


Geomorfologicas para la hldro'no J^1* d Y FiaIIo> *
Rodnguez-Iturbe,I.,G.Devoto,andJ B ValdSS
analysis and hydrologic simi aritv Th/ , ', ^hargC resP'
geomorphologic IUH andtZs?orm?h mendaUon **
Res., 15, this ilsue 1979 ^aractenstics, Wtfer *

"t&S^zsi* rm;and s,opes in **4

1 9 5 6 . y ' < 7 " ' ' ' * * A m e r - S u i t . . 6 7 , 5 9 7 - 6 4


Shreve. R. L S.a.Mca! ,aw of slream numbers, ,. Ceo/ 7<f, J

S"S. S. ra-r86"i!967OPOlOSi<:a"y randm ChaM" "*>..


J- I he dimensionless ratio /# is n rh-.^^ . .
constant for each basin JkS. ? characteristic variable
characteristics
-^TiiSjtS^^
morphology of the watershed and to , J * re^

Nacional de Investigation"SnSc^v T SUPPn f lhe CnSeJ


ZUela through grant SI 59 is ^efu^T (C?"icit> 'Venethanks are given to John Schaake for h acknowledged. Special
menu and a critical review o ^ he paper SUg8eSt'nS " the eXPe"-

Wdskopf, V. p. The fron,^ and lin]its of ^ ^ ^ J

(Received October 18, 1978;


revised June5, 1979;
accepted June 20. 1979.)