Solar radiation as a global driver of hillslope asymmetry: Insights from an ecogeomorphic landscape evolution model


Yetemen Ö. , Istanbulluoglu E., Duvall A. R.

WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH, cilt.51, ss.9843-9861, 2015 (SCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi) identifier identifier

  • Cilt numarası: 51 Konu: 12
  • Basım Tarihi: 2015
  • Doi Numarası: 10.1002/2015wr017103
  • Dergi Adı: WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH
  • Sayfa Sayıları: ss.9843-9861

Özet

Observations at the field, catchment, and continental scales across a range of arid and semiarid climates and latitudes reveal aspect-controlled patterns in soil properties, vegetation types, ecohydrologic fluxes, and hillslope morphology. Although the global distribution of solar radiation on earth's surface and its implications on vegetation dynamics are well documented, we know little about how variation of solar radiation across latitudes influence landscape evolution and resulting geomorphic difference. Here, we used a landscape evolution model that couples the continuity equations for water, sediment, and above-ground vegetation biomass at each model element in order to explore the controls of latitude and mean annual precipitation (MAP) on the development of hillslope asymmetry (HA). In our model, asymmetric hill-slopes emerged from the competition between soil creep and vegetation-modulated fluvial transport, driven by spatial distribution of solar radiation. Latitude was a primary driver of HA because of its effects on the global distribution of solar radiation. In the Northern Hemisphere, north-facing slopes (NFS), which support more vegetation cover and have lower transport efficiency, get steeper toward the North Pole while south-facing slopes (SFS) get gentler. In the Southern Hemisphere, the patterns are reversed and SFS get steeper toward the South Pole. For any given latitude, MAP is found to have minor control on HA. Our results underscore the potential influence of solar radiation as a global control on the development of asymmetric hillslopes in fluvial landscapes.