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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Inspired by a quotation from Howard Cook in 1946, this paper traces the evolution of the infiltration theory of runoff from the work of Robert Horton and LeRoy Sherman in the 1930s to the early digital computer models of the 1970s and 1980s. Reconsideration of the perceptual model for many catchments, partly as a result of the greater appreciation of the contribution of subsurface flows to the hydrograph indicated by tracer studies, suggests a reconsideration of hydrological nomenclature.
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https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-308
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-308

  06 Jul 2020

06 Jul 2020

Review status: a revised version of this preprint was accepted for the journal HESS and is expected to appear here in due course.

The era of Infiltration

Keith Beven Keith Beven
  • Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK

Abstract. Inspired by a quotation from Howard Cook in 1946, this paper traces the evolution of the infiltration theory of runoff from the work of Robert Horton and LeRoy Sherman in the 1930s to the early digital computer models of the 1970s and 1980s. The reasons for the popularity of the infiltration theory are considered, as well as its impact on the way in which hydrological responses were perceived by several generations of hydrologists. Reconsideration of the perceptual model for many catchments, partly as a result of the greater appreciation of the contribution of subsurface flows to the hydrograph indicated by tracer studies, suggests a more precise utilisation of hydrological terms and, in particular, that the use of runoff and surface runoff should be avoided.

Keith Beven

 
Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement

Keith Beven

Keith Beven

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Short summary
Inspired by a quotation from Howard Cook in 1946, this paper traces the evolution of the infiltration theory of runoff from the work of Robert Horton and LeRoy Sherman in the 1930s to the early digital computer models of the 1970s and 1980s. Reconsideration of the perceptual model for many catchments, partly as a result of the greater appreciation of the contribution of subsurface flows to the hydrograph indicated by tracer studies, suggests a reconsideration of hydrological nomenclature.
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