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The era of infiltration

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Published
Article number8512021
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>22/02/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Hydrology and Earth System Sciences
Issue number2
Volume25
Number of pages16
Pages (from-to)851-866
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English

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 and 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.