Ecohydrologic process networks: 2. Analysis and characterization

Benjamin L. Ruddell, Praveen Kumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Ecohydrological systems are complex, open dissipative systems characterized by couplings and feedback between subsystems at many scales of space and time. The information flow process network approach is developed to analyze such systems, using time series data to delineate the feedback, time scales, and subsystems that define the complex system's organization. Network statistics are used to measure the statistical feedback, entropy, and net and gross information production of subsystems on the network to study monthly process networks for a Midwestern corn-soybean ecosystem for the years 1998-2006. Several distinct system states are identified and characterized. Particularly interesting is the midsummer state that is dominated by regional-scale information feedback and by information flow originating from the ecosystem's photosynthetic activity. In this state, information flows both "top-down" from synoptic weather systems and "bottom-up" from the plant photosynthetic activity. A threshold in air temperature separates this summer state where increased organization appears from other system states. The relationship between Shannon entropy and information flow is investigated. It is found that information generally flows from high-entropy variables to low-entropy variables, and moderate-entropy variables participate in feedback.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberW03420
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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