GRIN - Global River Network


To improve the representation of surface and groundwater flows, global land surface models rely heavily on high-resolution digital elevation models (DEMs). River pixels are routinely defined as pixels with drainage areas that are greater than a critical drainage area (Acr). This parameter is usually uniform across the globe, and the dependence of drainage density on many environmental factors is often overlooked. We proposed the calibration of a spatially variable Acr as a function of slope, lithology, and climate, to match drainage densities from reference river networks at a 1:50,000 scale in France and Australia. Combined with the hydrologically-conditioned DEM provided by HydroSHEDS at the 15" resolution, this methodology allowed us to extract river networks over all land masses south of 60°N, with natural heterogeneities consistent with at the 1:50,000 scale. A first-order intermittency assessment is also proposed, constrained by annual mean precipitation. Further details can be found in Schneider et al. (2017).

Schneider, A., Jost, A., Coulon, C., Silvestre, M., Théry, A. Ducharne, A. (2017). Global scale river network extraction based on high-resolution topography and constrained by lithology, climate, slope, and observed drainage density, Geophys. Res. Lett., 44, doi:10.1002/2016GL071844.

Data Access

The dataset below is freely available but we ask you to cite the above reference if you use the data.

Available Data

GRIN v. 1.0 provides hydrographic features based on the river network called LCS in Schneider et al. (2017). All files use the same projection as HydroSHEDS (EPSG 4326). The available layers are:

  • Drainage density: the drainage density layer is provided in the raster format, at 7.5' resolution over the whole globe. Drainage densities (km-1) were calculated as the sum of the total river length (perennial and intermittent) inside a pixel, divided by the pixel land area (excluding the ocean fraction).

Both shapefiles and raster files were produced under ESRI ArcGIS. The shapefiles consist of several files, combined and compressed as a zip archive.