Articles | Volume 8, issue 2
Earth Surf. Dynam., 8, 447–470, 2020
Earth Surf. Dynam., 8, 447–470, 2020

Research article 03 Jun 2020

Research article | 03 Jun 2020

Parameterization of river incision models requires accounting for environmental heterogeneity: insights from the tropical Andes

Benjamin Campforts et al.

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Cited articles

Aalto, R., Dunne, T., and Guyot, J. L.: Geomorphic Controls on Andean Denudation Rates, J. Geol., 114, 85–99,, 2006. 
Abbühl, L. M., Norton, K. P., Jansen, J. D., Schlunegger, F., Aldahan, A., and Possnert, G.: Erosion rates and mechanisms of knickzone retreat inferred from 10Be measured across strong climate gradients on the northern and central Andes Western Escarpment, Earth Surf. Proc. Land., 36, 1464–1473,, 2011. 
Alcamo, J., Döll, P., Henrichs, T., Kaspar, F., Lehner, B., Rösch, T., and Siebert, S.: Development and testing of the WaterGAP 2 global model of water use and availability, Hydrolog. Sci. J., 48, 317–337,, 2003. 
Anderson, R. S.: Evolution of the Santa Cruz Mountains, California, through tectonic growth and geomorphic decay, J. Geophys. Res., 99, 20161–20179,, 1994. 
Armitage, J. J., Whittaker, A. C., Zakari, M., and Campforts, B.: Numerical modelling of landscape and sediment flux response to precipitation rate change, Earth Surf. Dynam., 6, 77–99,, 2018. 
Short summary
In this contribution, we explore the spatial determinants of bedrock river incision in the tropical Andes. The model results illustrate the problem of confounding between climatic and lithological variables, such as rock strength. Incorporating rock strength explicitly into river incision models strongly improves the explanatory power of all tested models and enables us to clarify the role of rainfall variability in controlling river incision rates.