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Preferential flows and travel time distributions: defining adequate hypothesis tests for hydrological process models

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial


Journal publication date15/06/2010
JournalHydrological Processes
Number of pages11
Original languageEnglish


This introduction to the second annual review issue of Hydrological Processes tries to put the collection of papers on preferential flows and travel time distributions into a more general context of testing models as hypotheses about how catchment systems function. It is suggested that, because of the possibilities of non-stationary and epistemic errors in both data and models, such tests could be carried out within a rejectionist limits-of-acceptability framework. The principles and difficulties of hypothesis testing within these particular research areas are discussed. An important point to take from this discussion is that the use of a formal testing framework, and the consequent rejection of models as hypotheses after allowing for uncertainties in the data, is the starting point for developing better theories and data sets.