Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Better models are more effectively connected models

Nunes, João Pedro; Wainwright, John; Bielders, Charles L.; Darboux, Frédéric; Fiener, Peter; Finger, David; Turnbull, Laura

Better models are more effectively connected models Thumbnail


João Pedro Nunes

John Wainwright

Charles L. Bielders

Frédéric Darboux

Peter Fiener

David Finger

Laura Turnbull



Water- and sediment-transfer models are commonly used to explain or predict patterns in the landscape at scales different from those at which observations are available. These patterns are often the result of emergent properties that occur because processes of water and sediment transfer are connected in different ways. Recent advances in geomorphology suggest that it is important to consider, at a specific spatio-temporal scale, the structural connectivity of system properties that control processes, and the functional connectivity resulting from the way those processes operate and evolve through time. We argue that a more careful consideration of how structural and functional connectivity are represented in models should lead to more robust models that are appropriate for the scale of application and provide results that can be upscaled. This approach is necessary because, notwithstanding the significant advances in computer power in recent years, many geomorphic models are still unable to represent the landscape in sufficient detail to allow all connectivity to emerge. It is important to go beyond the simple representation of structural connectivity elements and allow the dynamics of processes to be represented, for example by using a connectivity function. This commentary aims to show how a better representation of connectivity in models can be achieved, by considering the sorts of landscape features present, and whether these features can be represented explicitly in the model spatial structure, or must be represented implicitly at the subgrid scale.


Nunes, J. P., Wainwright, J., Bielders, C. L., Darboux, F., Fiener, P., Finger, D., & Turnbull, L. (2018). Better models are more effectively connected models. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, 43(6), 1355-1360.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 11, 2017
Online Publication Date Jan 23, 2018
Publication Date May 1, 2018
Deposit Date Jan 24, 2018
Publicly Available Date Jan 23, 2019
Journal Earth Surface Processes and Landforms
Print ISSN 0197-9337
Electronic ISSN 1096-9837
Publisher British Society for Geomorphology
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 43
Issue 6
Pages 1355-1360


Accepted Journal Article (443 Kb)

Copyright Statement
This is the accepted version of the following article: Nunes, João Pedro, Wainwright, John, Bielders, Charles L., Darboux, Frédéric, Fiener, Peter, Finger, David & Turnbull, Laura (2018). Better models are more effectively connected models. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 43(6): 1355-1360 which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.

You might also like

Downloadable Citations