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The Entropic Braiding Index (eBI): a robust metric to account for the diversity of channel scales in multi-thread rivers
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  • Alejandro Tejedor,
  • Jon Schwenk,
  • Maarten Kleinhans,
  • Ajay B Limaye,
  • Lawrence Vulis,
  • Paul Carling,
  • Holger Kantz,
  • Efi Foufoula-Georgiou
Alejandro Tejedor
Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Jon Schwenk
Los Alamos National Laboratory
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Maarten Kleinhans
Utrecht University
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Ajay B Limaye
University of Virginia
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Lawrence Vulis
University of California
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Paul Carling
University of Southampton
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Holger Kantz
Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems
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Efi Foufoula-Georgiou
University of California, Irvine
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The Braiding Index (BI), defined as the average count of intercepted channels per cross-section, is a widely used metric for characterizing multi-thread river systems. However, it does not account for the diversity of channels (e.g., in terms of discharge) within different cross-sections, omitting important information related to system complexity. Here we present a modification of BI (the Entropic Braiding Index, eBI) which augments the information content in BI by using Shannon Entropy to encode the diversity of channels in each cross section. eBI is interpreted as the number of “effective channels” per cross-section, allowing a direct comparison with the traditional BI. We demonstrate the superior capabilities of eBI via analysis of synthetic, numerical and field examples. In addition, we show that interrogating cross-sections via the ratio BI/eBI has the potential to quantify channel disparity, differentiate types of multi-thread systems, and inform about cross-section stability to forcing variability (e.g., seasonal flooding).