Hilary K. McMillan
Hydrological Processes, 36( 3), e14537. https://doi.org/10.1002/hyp.14537
Publication year: 2022

This paper presents a taxonomy (hierarchical organization) of hydrological processes; specifically, runoff generation processes in natural watersheds. Over 130 process names were extracted from a literature review of papers describing experimental watersheds, perceptual models, and runoff processes in a range of hydro-climatic environments. Processes were arranged into a hierarchical structure, and presented as a spreadsheet and interactive diagram. For each process, additional information was provided: a list of alternative names for the same process, a classification into hydrological function (e.g., flux, storage, release) and a unique identifier similar to a hashtag. We hope that the proposed hierarchy will prompt collaboration and debate in the hydrologic community into naming and organizing processes, towards a comprehensive taxonomy. The taxonomy provides a method to label and search hydrological knowledge, thereby facilitating synthesis and comparison of processes across watersheds.