Statistical characteristics of topographic surfaces and dynamic smoothing of landscapes M. Bartlett, F. Laio (Politecnico di Torino, Italy), L. Ridolfi, G.

Vico, and A. Porporato

We analyze the local statistics of topographic surfaces, including slope and aspect, as a function of scale, and explore their relations with landscape features, such as age, vegetation, and geology. These results build upon the previous work of Vico and Porporato (JGR 114, F01011, 2009), which characterized slope using generalized t-Student distributions. We find that the number of degrees of freedom of such distributions, which determines the heaviness of their tails, is linked to the age of the topographic relief of the considered regions, tending to normal distributions for very old mountain ranges. Based on these findings, and inspired by models of critical phenomena, we develop physically-based, space-time stochastic differential equations that reproduce this dynamic smoothing of rough landscapes.

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