Hydrology and Change

D. Koutsoyiannis, Hydrology and Change, Hydrological Sciences Journal, 58 (6), 1177–1197, doi:10.1080/02626667.2013.804626, 2013.



Since “panta rhei” was pronounced by Heraclitus, hydrology and the objects it studies, such as rivers and lakes, offer grounds to observe and understand change and flux. Change occurs on all time scales, from minute to geological, but our limited senses and life span, as well as the short time window of instrumental observations, restrict our perception to the most apparent daily to yearly variations. As a result, our typical modelling practices assume that natural changes are just a short-term “noise” superimposed to the daily and annual cycles in a scene that is static and invariant in the long run. According to this perception, only an exceptional and extraordinary forcing can produce a long-term change. The hydrologist H. E. Hurst, studying the long flow records of the Nile and other geophysical time series, was the first to observe a natural behaviour, named after him, related to multi-scale change, as well as its implications in engineering designs. Essentially, this behaviour manifests that long-term changes are much more frequent and intense than commonly perceived and, simultaneously, that the future states are much more uncertain and unpredictable on long time horizons than implied by standard approaches. Surprisingly, however, the implications of multi-scale change have not been assimilated in geophysical sciences. A change of perspective is thus needed, in which change and uncertainty are essential parts.

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Our works referenced by this work:

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Our works that reference this work:

1. A. Montanari, G. Young, H. H. G. Savenije, D. Hughes, T. Wagener, L. L. Ren, D. Koutsoyiannis, C. Cudennec, E. Toth, S. Grimaldi, G. Blöschl, M. Sivapalan, K. Beven, H. Gupta, M. Hipsey, B. Schaefli, B. Arheimer, E. Boegh, S. J. Schymanski, G. Di Baldassarre, B. Yu, P. Hubert, Y. Huang, A. Schumann, D. Post, V. Srinivasan, C. Harman, S. Thompson, M. Rogger, A. Viglione, H. McMillan, G. Characklis, Z. Pang, and V. Belyaev, “Panta Rhei – Everything Flows”, Change in Hydrology and Society – The IAHS Scientific Decade 2013-2022, Hydrological Sciences Journal, 58 (6), 1256–1275, doi:10.1080/02626667.2013.809088, 2013.
2. D. Koutsoyiannis, Reconciling hydrology with engineering, Hydrology Research, 45 (1), 2–22, doi:10.2166/nh.2013.092, 2014.
3. D. Koutsoyiannis, Social vs. scientific perception of change in hydrology and climate — Reply to the Discussion by Arie Ben-Zvi on the Opinion Paper “Hydrology and Change”, Hydrological Sciences Journal, 59 (8), 1625–1626, doi:10.1080/02626667.2014.935382, 2014.
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Tagged under: Climate stochastics, Determinism vs. stochasticity, Entropy, Hurst-Kolmogorov dynamics, Uncertainty