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This article highlights the potential benefits that the Kohonen method has for the classification of rivers with similar characteristics by determining regional ecological flows using the ELOHA (Ecological Limits of Hydrologic Alteration) methodology. Currently, there are many methodologies for the classification of rivers, however none of them include the characteristics found in Kohonen method such as (i) providing the number of groups that actually underlie the information presented, (ii) used to make variable importance analysis, (iii) which in any case can display two-dimensional classification process, and (iv) that regardless of the parameters used in the model the clustering structure remains. In order to evaluate the potential benefits of the Kohonen method, 174 flow stations distributed along the great river basin “Magdalena-Cauca” (Colombia) were analyzed. 73 variables were obtained for the classification process in each case. Six trials were done using different combinations of variables and the results were validated against reference classification obtained by Ingfocol in 2010, whose results were also framed using ELOHA guidelines. In the process of validation it was found that two of the tested models reproduced a level higher than 80% of the reference classification with the first trial, meaning that more than 80% of the flow stations analyzed in both models formed invariant groups of streams.


Session R29, Hydrologic Modeling: Processes and River Flows



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