Articles | Volume 8, issue 1
Earth Surf. Dynam., 8, 87–102, 2020
Earth Surf. Dynam., 8, 87–102, 2020
Research article
12 Feb 2020
Research article | 12 Feb 2020

Determining flow directions in river channel networks using planform morphology and topology

Jon Schwenk et al.

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Cited articles

Allen, G. H. and Pavelsky, T. M.: Global extent of rivers and streams, Science, 361, 585–588,, 2018. 
Benda, L., Poff, N. L., Miller, D., Dunne, T., Reeves, G., Pess, G., and Pollock, M.: The Network Dynamics Hypothesis: How Channel Networks Structure Riverine Habitats, BioScience, 54, 413–427,[0413:TNDHHC]2.0.CO;2, 2004. 
Bevis, M.: Sediment budgets indicate Pleistocene base level fall drives erosion in Minnesota's greater Blue Earth River basin, Master of Science, University of Minnesota, Duluth, Minnesota, 2015. 
Coffey, T. S. and Shaw, J. B.: Congruent Bifurcation Angles in River Delta and Tributary Channel Networks, Geophys. Res. Lett., 44, 11427–11436,, 2017. 
Czuba, J. A. and Foufoula-Georgiou, E.: A network-based framework for identifying potential synchronizations and amplifications of sediment delivery in river basins, Water Resour. Res., 50, 3826–3851,, 2014. 
Short summary
Standing on a riverbank, it is usually obvious which direction the river flows. However, when observing a river from space, we cannot see the flowing water and must use other clues to determine flow directions. For complicated river channel networks like those of deltas and braided rivers, determining the flow direction of each channel within the network is not trivial. We present and demonstrate a method to automatically determine flow directions for each link in aerially viewed river channels.