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Is groundwater response timing in a pre-alpine catchment controlled more by topography or by rainfall?
Univ Zurich, Dept Geog, Winterthurerstr 190, CH-8057 Zurich, Switzerland.;Duke Univ, Nicholas Sch Environm, Dept Earth & Ocean Sci, 9 Circuit Dr, Durham, NC 27708 USA..
Univ Zurich, Dept Geog, Winterthurerstr 190, CH-8057 Zurich, Switzerland..
Swiss Fed Res Inst WSL, Zurcherstr 111, CH-8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland..
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences. Univ Zurich, Dept Geog, Winterthurerstr 190, CH-8057 Zurich, Switzerland..
2016 (English)In: Hydrological Processes, ISSN 0885-6087, E-ISSN 1099-1085, Vol. 30, no 7, 1036-1051 p.Article in journal (Refereed) PublishedText
Abstract [en]

Groundwater levels in steep headwater catchments typically respond quickly to rainfall, but the timing of the response may vary spatially across the catchment. In this study, we investigated the topographic controls and the effects of rainfall and antecedent conditions on the groundwater response timing for 51 groundwater monitoring sites in a 20-ha pre-alpine catchment with low permeability soils. The median time to rise and median duration of recession for the 133 rainfall events were highly correlated to the topographic characteristics of the site and its upslope contributing area. The median time to rise depended more on the topographic characteristics than on the rainfall characteristics or antecedent soil wetness conditions. The median time to rise decreased with Topographic Wetness Index (TWI) for sites with TWI<6 and was almost constant for sites with a higher TWI. The slope of this relation was a function of rainfall intensity. The rainfall threshold for groundwater initiation was also a function of TWI and allowed extrapolation of point measurements to the catchment scale. The median lag time between the rainfall centroid and the groundwater peak was 75min. The groundwater level peaked before peak streamflow at the catchment outlet for half of the groundwater monitoring sites, but only by 15 to 25min. The stronger correlations between topographic indices and groundwater response timing in this study compared to previous studies suggest that surface topography affects the groundwater response timing in catchments with low permeability soils more than in catchments with more transmissive soils.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 30, no 7, 1036-1051 p.
Keyword [en]
groundwater, response timing, Topographic Wetness Index, topographic controls, subalpine catchment, rainfall threshold, antecedent wetness, spatial patterns
National Category
Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-294299DOI: 10.1002/hyp.10634ISI: 000373021600003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-294299DiVA: diva2:929537
Available from: 2016-05-19 Created: 2016-05-18 Last updated: 2016-05-19Bibliographically approved

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