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What we see now: event-persistence and the predictability of hydro-eco-geomorphological systems

Beven, Keith (2014) What we see now: event-persistence and the predictability of hydro-eco-geomorphological systems. Ecological Modelling, 298. pp. 4-15. ISSN 0304-3800

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2014.07.019


What we see now in the landscape is the result of a long history of events with varying degrees of persistence. We have only limited access to much of that history and we know that many current events have only a minimal impact on what we see. Even rather extreme events may have impacts that are not very long-lasting but can have the effect of changing the antecedent states for future events. That means that sampling of sequences of events might be important in understanding the evolution of the catchments. In some cases, however, extreme events can have an impact on the system that persists over hundreds or thousands of years. Any evolution of the landscape is then constrained by those past events, however much it might be also constrained by self-organisational principles. It might be difficult to verify those principles given the epistemic uncertainties about past histories and system properties that are generic to the studies that are possible within a research project or career. These arguments are investigated in a simple slab model of landslip failures in a hillslope hollow subject to stochastic forcing over long periods of time. The complementarity of an event-persistence approach to hydro-eco-geomorphological systems is captured in suggestions for future research questions.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2014 The Author © CC BY 3.0
Divisions: Centre for Analysis of Time Series
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2014 10:33
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 00:49
Projects: NE/J017299/1
Funders: Natural Environment Research Council

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