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Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2019-18
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2019-18
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Model description paper 25 Feb 2019

Model description paper | 25 Feb 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Geoscientific Model Development (GMD).

r.sim.terrain: a dynamic landscape evolution model

Brendan Alexander Harmon1, Helena Mitasova2,3, Anna Petrasova2,3, and Vaclav Petras2,3 Brendan Alexander Harmon et al.
  • 1Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA
  • 2Center for Geospatial Analytics, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
  • 3Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

Abstract. While there are numerical landscape evolution models that simulate how steady state flows of water and sediment reshape topography over long periods of time, r.sim.terrain is the first to simulate short-term topographic change for both steady state and dynamic flow regimes across a range of spatial scales. This free and open source, GIS-based topographic evolution model uses empirical models for soil erosion at watershed to regional scales and a physics-based model for shallow overland water flow and soil erosion at subwatershed scales to compute short-term topographic change. This either steady state or dynamic model simulates how overland sediment mass flows reshape topography for a range of hydrologic soil erosion regimes based on topographic, land cover, soil, and rainfall parameters. As demonstrated by a case study for Patterson Branch subwatershed on the Fort Bragg military installation in North Carolina, r.sim.terrain can realistically simulate the development of fine-scale morphological features including ephemeral gullies, rills, and hillslopes. Applications include land management, erosion control, landscape planning, and landscape restoration.

Brendan Alexander Harmon et al.
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Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Brendan Alexander Harmon et al.
Data sets

Landscape Evolution Dataset B. Harmon https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.2542929

Landscape Evolution Repository B. Harmon, H. Mitasova, A. Petrasova, and V. Petras https://doi.org/10.17605/osf.io/tf6yb

Model code and software

r.sim.terrain B. Harmon, H. Mitasova, A. Petrasova, and V. Petras https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.2542921

Brendan Alexander Harmon et al.
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Latest update: 20 May 2019
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Short summary
The numerical model, r.sim.terrain, simulates how overland flows of water and sediment shape topography over short periods of time. We tested the model by comparing runs of the simulation against a time series of airborne lidar surveys for our study landscape. Through these tests, we demonstrated that the model can realistically simulate gully evolution including processes such as channel incision, channel widening, and the development of scour pits, rills, and depositional ridges.
The numerical model, r.sim.terrain, simulates how overland flows of water and sediment shape...
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