Global Relationships Between River Width, Slope, Catchment Area, Meander Wavelength, Sinuosity, and Discharge

Renato Prata de Moraes Frasson*, Tamlin M. Pavelsky, Mark A. Fonstad, Michael T. Durand, George H. Allen, Guy Schumann, Christine Lion, R. Edward Beighley, Xiao Yang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

16 Citations (Scopus)
389 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Using river centerlines created with Landsat images and the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission digital elevation model, we created spatially continuous maps of mean annual flow river width, slope, meander wavelength, sinuosity, and catchment area for all rivers wider than 90 m located between 60°N and 56°S. We analyzed the distributions of these properties, identified their typical ranges, and explored relationships between river planform and slope. We found width to be directly associated with the magnitude of meander wavelength and catchment area. Moreover, we found that narrower rivers show a larger range of slope and sinuosity values than wider rivers. Finally, by comparing simulated discharge from a water balance model with measured widths, we show that power laws between mean annual discharge and width can predict width typically to −35% to +81%, even when a single relationship is applied across all rivers with discharge ranging from 100 to 50,000 m 3 /s.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3252-3262
Number of pages11
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume46
Issue number6
Early online date25 Mar 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2019

Keywords

  • fluvial geomorphology
  • hydrology
  • remote sensing

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    Frasson, R. P. D. M., Pavelsky, T. M., Fonstad, M. A., Durand, M. T., Allen, G. H., Schumann, G., Lion, C., Beighley, R. E., & Yang, X. (2019). Global Relationships Between River Width, Slope, Catchment Area, Meander Wavelength, Sinuosity, and Discharge. Geophysical Research Letters, 46(6), 3252-3262. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019GL082027