Longitudinal distributions of river flood power: the Combined Automated Flood, Elevation and Stream power (CAFES) methodology

DM Barker, Damian Lawler, Donald Knight, DG Morris, HN Davies, EJ Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Citations (Scopus)


Stream power can be an extremely useful index of fluvial sediment transport, channel pattern, river channel erosion and riparian habitat development. However, most previous studies of downstream changes in stream power have relied on field measurements at selected cross-sections, which are time consuming, and typically based on limited data, which cannot fully represent important spatial variations in stream power. We present here, therefore, a novel methodology we call CAFES (combined automated flood, elevation and stream power), to quantify downstream change in river flood power, based on integrating in a GIS framework Flood Estimation Handbook systems with the 5 m grid NEXTMap Britain digital elevation model derived from IFSAR (interferometric synthetic aperture radar). This provides a useful modelling platform to quantify at unprecedented resolution longitudinal distributions of flood discharge, elevation, floodplain slope and flood power at reach and basin scales. Values can be resolved to a 50 rn grid. CAFES approaches have distinct advantages over current methodologies for reach- and basin-scale stream power assessments and therefore for the interpretation and prediction of fluvial processes. The methodology has significant international applicability for understanding basin-scale hydraulics, sediment transport, erosion and sedimentation processes and river basin management. Copyright (C) 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-290
Number of pages11
JournalEarth Surface Processes and Landforms
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009


  • downstream change
  • sediment transport
  • stream power
  • fluvial processes
  • digital elevation model
  • rivers
  • DEM


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