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Analysis of hydrological seasonality across northern catchments using monthly precipitation–runoff polygon metrics


Ali, Genevieve; Tetzlaff, Doerthe; Kruitbos, Laura M; Soulsby, Chris; Carey, Sean; McDonnell, Jeff; Buttle, Jim; Laudon, Hjalmar; Seibert, Jan; McGuire, Kevin; Shanley, Jamie (2014). Analysis of hydrological seasonality across northern catchments using monthly precipitation–runoff polygon metrics. Hydrological Sciences Journal, 59(1):56-72.

Abstract

Seasonality is an important hydrological signature for catchment comparison. Here, the relevance of monthly precipitation–runoff polygons (defined as scatter points of 12 monthly average precipitation–runoff value pairs connected in the chronological monthly sequence) for characterizing seasonality patterns was investigated to describe the hydrological behaviour of 10 catchments spanning a climatic gradient across the northern temperate region. Specifically, the research objectives were to: (a) discuss the extent to which monthly precipitation–runoff polygons can be used to infer active hydrological processes in contrasting catchments; (b) test the ability of quantitative metrics describing the shape, orientation and surface area of monthly precipitation–runoff polygons to discriminate between different seasonality patterns; and (c) examine the value of precipitation–runoff polygons as a basis for catchment grouping and comparison. This study showed that some polygon metrics were as effective as monthly average runoff coefficients for illustrating differences between the 10 catchments. The use of precipitation–runoff polygons was especially helpful to look at the dynamics prevailing in specific months and better assess the coupling between precipitation and runoff and their relative degree of seasonality. This polygon methodology, linked with a range of quantitative metrics, could therefore provide a new simple tool for understanding and comparing seasonality among catchments.

Abstract

Seasonality is an important hydrological signature for catchment comparison. Here, the relevance of monthly precipitation–runoff polygons (defined as scatter points of 12 monthly average precipitation–runoff value pairs connected in the chronological monthly sequence) for characterizing seasonality patterns was investigated to describe the hydrological behaviour of 10 catchments spanning a climatic gradient across the northern temperate region. Specifically, the research objectives were to: (a) discuss the extent to which monthly precipitation–runoff polygons can be used to infer active hydrological processes in contrasting catchments; (b) test the ability of quantitative metrics describing the shape, orientation and surface area of monthly precipitation–runoff polygons to discriminate between different seasonality patterns; and (c) examine the value of precipitation–runoff polygons as a basis for catchment grouping and comparison. This study showed that some polygon metrics were as effective as monthly average runoff coefficients for illustrating differences between the 10 catchments. The use of precipitation–runoff polygons was especially helpful to look at the dynamics prevailing in specific months and better assess the coupling between precipitation and runoff and their relative degree of seasonality. This polygon methodology, linked with a range of quantitative metrics, could therefore provide a new simple tool for understanding and comparing seasonality among catchments.

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Additional indexing

Other titles:Analyse de la saisonnalité hydrologique sur des bassins versants septentrionaux à l’aide de métriques de polygones précipitation–débit mensuels
Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:22 Jan 2015 15:30
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:47
Publisher:Taylor & Francis Inc.
ISSN:0262-6667
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/02626667.2013.822639

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