Making experimental hillslopes to test hydrological models
Congratulations to Dana Lapides, Cy David, Anneliese Sytsma and David Dralle on the publication of their paper Analytical solutions to runoff on hillslopes with curvature: numerical and laboratory verification in Hydrological Processes.
This paper is so cool -- it has everything. It starts with clever mathematics to makes simple predictions about flow on curved hillslopes. Then it uses a complex model (PARFLOW) to test these predictions. But best of all - as shown in the picture below - Dana machined small, experimental hillslopes to have particular mathematical shapes, coated them with sand, and made a rainfall simulator to rain on them and test the flow predictions experimentally. The predictions worked out really well - and we were stoked to respond to calls to do more experimental work in hydrology! Well done Dana and co-authors!
You can read this fun study here.