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Convergent Surface Water Distributions in U.S. Cities

dc.contributor.author Steele, MK
dc.contributor.author Heffernan, JB
dc.contributor.author Bettez, N
dc.contributor.author Cavender-Bares, J
dc.contributor.author Groffman, PM
dc.contributor.author Grove, JM
dc.contributor.author Hall, S
dc.contributor.author Hobbie, SE
dc.contributor.author Larson, K
dc.contributor.author Morse, JL
dc.contributor.author Neill, C
dc.contributor.author Nelson, KC
dc.contributor.author O'Neil-Dunne, J
dc.contributor.author Ogden, L
dc.contributor.author Pataki, DE
dc.contributor.author Polsky, C
dc.contributor.author Roy Chowdhury, R
dc.date.accessioned 2014-03-10T13:25:40Z
dc.date.issued 2014-01-01
dc.identifier.issn 1432-9840
dc.identifier.uri https://hdl.handle.net/10161/8395
dc.description.abstract Earth's surface is rapidly urbanizing, resulting in dramatic changes in the abundance, distribution and character of surface water features in urban landscapes. However, the scope and consequences of surface water redistribution at broad spatial scales are not well understood. We hypothesized that urbanization would lead to convergent surface water abundance and distribution: in other words, cities will gain or lose water such that they become more similar to each other than are their surrounding natural landscapes. Using a database of more than 1 million water bodies and 1 million km of streams, we compared the surface water of 100 US cities with their surrounding undeveloped land. We evaluated differences in areal (A WB) and numeric densities (N WB) of water bodies (lakes, wetlands, and so on), the morphological characteristics of water bodies (size), and the density (D C) of surface flow channels (that is, streams and rivers). The variance of urban A WB, N WB, and D C across the 100 MSAs decreased, by 89, 25, and 71%, respectively, compared to undeveloped land. These data show that many cities are surface water poor relative to undeveloped land; however, in drier landscapes urbanization increases the occurrence of surface water. This convergence pattern strengthened with development intensity, such that high intensity urban development had an areal water body density 98% less than undeveloped lands. Urbanization appears to drive the convergence of hydrological features across the US, such that surface water distributions of cities are more similar to each other than to their surrounding landscapes. © 2014 The Author(s).
dc.relation.ispartof Ecosystems
dc.relation.isversionof 10.1007/s10021-014-9751-y
dc.title Convergent Surface Water Distributions in U.S. Cities
dc.type Journal article
pubs.begin-page 685
pubs.end-page 697
pubs.issue 4
pubs.organisational-group Duke
pubs.organisational-group Environmental Sciences and Policy
pubs.organisational-group Nicholas School of the Environment
pubs.publication-status Published
pubs.volume 17
dc.identifier.eissn 1435-0629


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