H. J. van Meerveld


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Fill‐and‐Spill: A Process Description of Runoff Generation at the Scale of the Beholder
Jeffrey J. McDonnell, Christopher Spence, Daniel J. Karran, H. J. van Meerveld, Ciaran J. Harman
Water Resources Research, Volume 57, Issue 5

Descriptions of runoff generation processes continue to grow, helping to reveal complexities and hydrologic behavior across a wide range of environments and scales. But to date, there has been little grouping of these process facts. Here, we discuss how the “fill‐and‐spill” concept can provide a framework to group event‐based runoff generation processes. The fill‐and‐spill concept describes where vertical and lateral additions of water to a landscape unit are placed into storage (the fill)—and only when this storage reaches a critical level (the spill), and other storages are filled and become connected, does a previously infeasible (but subsequently important) outflow pathway become activated. We show that fill‐and‐spill can be observed at a range of scales and propose that future fieldwork should first define the scale of interest and then evaluate what is filling‐and‐spilling at that scale. Such an approach may be helpful for those instrumenting and modeling new hillslopes or catchments because it provides a structured way to develop perceptual models for runoff generation and to group behaviors at different sites and scales.

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The evolving perceptual model of streamflow generation at the Panola Mountain Research Watershed
Brent T. Aulenbach, Richard Hooper, H. J. van Meerveld, Douglas A. Burns, J. E. Freer, James B. Shanley, Thomas G. Huntington, Jeffrey J. McDonnell, Norman E. Peters
Hydrological Processes, Volume 35, Issue 4

The Panola Mountain Research Watershed (PMRW) is a 41-hectare forested catchment within the Piedmont Province of the Southeastern United States. Observations, experimentation, and numerical modelling have been conducted at Panola over the past 35 years. But to date, these studies have not been fully incorporated into a more comprehensive synthesis. Here we describe the evolving perceptual understanding of streamflow generation mechanisms at the PMRW. We show how the long-term study has enabled insights that were initially unforeseen but are also unachievable in short-term studies. In particular, we discuss how the accumulation of field evidence, detailed site characterization, and modelling enabled a priori hypotheses to be formed, later rejected, and then further refined through repeated field campaigns. The extensive characterization of the soil and bedrock provided robust process insights not otherwise achievable from hydrometric measurements and numerical modelling alone. We focus on two major aspects of streamflow generation: the role of hillslopes (and their connection to the riparian zone) and the role of catchment storage in controlling fluxes and transit times of water in the catchment. Finally, we present location-independent hypotheses based on our findings at PMRW and suggest ways to assess the representativeness of PMRW in the broader context of headwater watersheds.