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Landscape controls on spatiotemporal discharge variability in a boreal catchment


Karlsen, Reinert H; Grabs, Thomas; Bishop, Kevin; Buffam, Ishi; Laudon, Hjalmar; Seibert, Jan (2016). Landscape controls on spatiotemporal discharge variability in a boreal catchment. Water Resources Research, 52(8):6541-6556.

Abstract

Improving the understanding of how stream flow dynamics are influenced by landscape characteristics, such as soils, vegetation and terrain, is a central endeavor of catchment hydrology. Here we investigate how spatial variability in stream flow is related to landscape characteristics using specific discharge time series from 14 partly nested subcatchments in the Krycklan basin (0.12 – 68 km2). Multivariate principal component analyses combined with univariate analyses showed that while variability in landscape characteristics and specific discharge were strongly related, the spatial patterns varied with season and wetness conditions. During spring snowmelt and at the annual scale, specific discharge was positively related to the sum of wetland and lake area. During summer, when flows are lowest, specific discharge was negatively related to catchment tree volume, but positively related to deeper sediment deposits and catchment area. The results indicate how more densely forested areas on till soils become relatively drier during summer months, while wet areas and deeper sediment soils maintain a higher summer base flow. Annual and seasonal differences in specific discharge can therefore be explained to a large extent by expected variability in evapotranspiration fluxes and snow accumulation. These analyses provide an organizing principle for how specific discharge varies spatially across the boreal landscape, and how this variation is manifested for different wetness conditions, seasons and time scales.

Abstract

Improving the understanding of how stream flow dynamics are influenced by landscape characteristics, such as soils, vegetation and terrain, is a central endeavor of catchment hydrology. Here we investigate how spatial variability in stream flow is related to landscape characteristics using specific discharge time series from 14 partly nested subcatchments in the Krycklan basin (0.12 – 68 km2). Multivariate principal component analyses combined with univariate analyses showed that while variability in landscape characteristics and specific discharge were strongly related, the spatial patterns varied with season and wetness conditions. During spring snowmelt and at the annual scale, specific discharge was positively related to the sum of wetland and lake area. During summer, when flows are lowest, specific discharge was negatively related to catchment tree volume, but positively related to deeper sediment deposits and catchment area. The results indicate how more densely forested areas on till soils become relatively drier during summer months, while wet areas and deeper sediment soils maintain a higher summer base flow. Annual and seasonal differences in specific discharge can therefore be explained to a large extent by expected variability in evapotranspiration fluxes and snow accumulation. These analyses provide an organizing principle for how specific discharge varies spatially across the boreal landscape, and how this variation is manifested for different wetness conditions, seasons and time scales.

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Additional indexing

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:2016
Deposited On:25 Jan 2017 09:39
Last Modified:27 Apr 2018 04:00
Publisher:American Geophysical Union
ISSN:0043-1397
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/2016WR019186

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