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The assumption of uniform specific discharge: unsafe at Any time?
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, LUVAL. (Hydrologi)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3367-5077
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, LUVAL. Univ Zurich, Dept Geog, Winterthurerstr 190, CH-8057 Zurich, Switzerland. (Hydrologi)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6314-2124
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences, LUVAL. (Hydrologi)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6537-0753
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Ecology and Management, SE-90183 Umeå, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6058-1466
Show others and affiliations
2016 (English)In: Hydrological Processes, ISSN 0885-6087, E-ISSN 1099-1085, Vol. 0, no 21, 3978-3988 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Nearby catchments in the same landscape are often assumed to have similar specific discharge (runoff per unit catchment area). Five years of streamflow from 14 nested catchments in a 68km(2) landscape was used to test this assumption, with the hypothesis that the spatial variability in specific discharge is smaller than the uncertainties in the measurement. The median spatial variability of specific discharge, defined as subcatchment deviation from the catchment outlet, was 33% at the daily scale. This declined to 24% at a monthly scale and 19% at an annual scale. These specific discharge differences are on the same order of magnitude as predicted for major land-use conversions or a century of climate change. Spatial variability remained when considering uncertainties in specific discharge, and systematic seasonal patterns in specific discharge variation further provide confidence that these differences are more than just errors in the analysis of catchment area, rainfall variability or gauging. Assuming similar specific discharge in nearby catchments can thus lead to spurious conclusions about the effects of disturbance on hydrological and biogeochemical processes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 0, no 21, 3978-3988 p.
Keyword [en]
specific discharge; streamflow; spatio-temporal variability; catchment hydrology; boreal
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-292672DOI: 10.1002/hyp.10877ISI: 000385434400016OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-292672DiVA: diva2:926332
Funder
Swedish Research CouncilSwedish Research Council FormasThe Kempe Foundations
Available from: 2016-05-06 Created: 2016-05-06 Last updated: 2017-06-15Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Spatiotemporal streamflow variability in a boreal landscape: Importance of landscape composition for catchment hydrological functioning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Spatiotemporal streamflow variability in a boreal landscape: Importance of landscape composition for catchment hydrological functioning
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Avrinningens rumsliga och tidsmässiga variation i ett borealt landskap : Landskapets betydelse för avrinningsområdets hydrologiska funktion
Abstract [en]

The understanding of how different parts of a landscape contribute to streamflow by storing and releasing water has long been a central issue in hydrology. Knowledge about what controls streamflow dynamics across landscapes can further our understanding of how catchments store and release water, facilitate predictions for ungauged catchments, and improve the management of water quality and resources. This thesis makes use of data from the Krycklan catchment in northern Sweden. Streamflow data from 14 catchments (0.12 - 68 km2) with variable landscape characteristics such as topography, vegetation, wetland cover, glacial till soils and deeper sediment soils were used to investigate spatial patterns and controls on runoff.

The differences in specific discharge (discharge per unit catchment area) between nearby catchments were large at the annual scale, and have the same magnitude as predicted effects of a century of climate change or the observed effects of major forestry operations. This variability is important to consider when studying the effects of climate change and land use changes on streamflow, as well as for our understanding of geochemical mass balances. Streamflow from different catchments was strongly related to landscape characteristics. The distribution of wetland areas had a particularly strong influence, with an annual specific discharge 40-80% higher than catchments with high tree volume on till soils. During drier periods, catchments with deeper sediment soils at the lower elevations of Krycklan had a higher base flow compared to both forested till and wetland catchments. This pattern was reversed at high flows. The storages releasing water to streams in downstream sediment areas were able to maintain base flow for longer periods and were less influenced by evapotranspiration compared to the more superficial till and wetland systems.

The results of this thesis have led to a better understanding of the landscape wide patterns of streamflow during different seasons and time scales. The strong associations to landscape characteristics and variable spatial patterns with season and antecedent conditions form the basis for a conceptual understanding of the processes and spatial patterns that shape the heterogeneity of streamflow responses in boreal catchments.

Abstract [sv]

Hur olika delar av landskapet påverkar vattenbalansen och bidrar till avrinning har länge varit en central fråga inom hydrologin. Kunskap om vad som styr avrinningsdynamiken i ett landskap kan öka vår förståelse av hur olika delar av landskapet bidrar till avrinning, hur avrinningsområden lagrar vatten och bildar avrinning, underlätta prognoser för avrinningsområden utan vattenföringsmätningar och förbättra hanteringen av vattenkvaliteten och vattenresurser. Denna avhandling använder data från Krycklans avrinningsområde i norra Sverige. Vattenföringsdata från 14 delavrinningsområden (0.12 - 68 km2) med olika landskapskarakteristik såsom topografi, vegetation och jordarter, användes för att undersöka rumsliga mönster hos avrinningen över olika tidsperioder samt hur landskapet påverkar variabiliteten.

Skillnaderna i specifik avrinning (avrinning per areaenhet) mellan närliggande avrinningsområden var stor för årliga värden, och är i samma storleksordning som effekterna av stora skogsavverkningar samt av förutspådda effekter av det kommande seklets förväntade klimatförändringar. Denna variation är viktig att ta hänsyn till när man studerar hur klimatförändringar och ändrad markanvändning påverkar avrinningen, liksom för vår förståelse av geokemiska massbalanser. Avrinning från olika områden var starkt relaterad till deras landskapsegenskaper. Förekomsten av våtmarker hade ett särskilt starkt inflytande. Områden med en stor andel våtmarker hade 40-80% högre årlig specifik avrinning än områden med hög trädvolym på moränjordar. Under torrare perioder hade områden med djupare sedimentjordar hög avrinning jämfört med både områden med skog på morän och med våtmarker. Under höga flöden var detta mönster omvänt. De vattenlager som bidrar till avrinning i sedimentområden kan upprätthålla basflöde under längre tidsperioder och påverkas mindre av evapotranspirationen än de ytligare flödessystemen i morän och våtmarker.

Avhandlingen har givit en bättre förståelse av avrinningens rumsliga variation under olika årstider och i olika tidsskalor. Det starka sambandet mellan landskapskarakteristik och avrinningens varierande mönster under olika årstider och lagringsförhållanden utgör en grund för en begreppsmässig förståelse av de processer och rumsliga mönster som skapar heterogeniteten i flödesrespons i boreala områden.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2016. 64 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 1420
Keyword
streamflow, catchment hydrology, boreal, water balance, spatiotemporal variability, landscape analysis, climate change, recession curve
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
Research subject
Hydrology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-302400 (URN)978-91-554-9680-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-10-21, Hambergsalen, Villavägen 16, Uppsala, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-09-29 Created: 2016-09-01 Last updated: 2016-10-11

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