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Specific discharge variability in a boreal landscape


Lyon, Steve W; Nathanson, Marcus; Spans, André; Grabs, Thomas J; Laudon, Hjalmar; Temnerud, Johan; Bishop, Kevin H; Seibert, Jan (2012). Specific discharge variability in a boreal landscape. Water Resources Research, 48:W08506.

Abstract

Specific discharge variations within a mesoscale catchment were studied on the basis of three synoptic sampling campaigns. These were conducted during stable flow conditions within the Krycklan catchment study area in northern Sweden. During each campaign, about 80 individual locations were measured for discharge draining from catchment areas ranging between 0.12 and 67 km2. These discharge samplings allowed for the comparison between years within a given season (September 2005 versus September 2008) and between seasons within a given year (May 2008 versus September 2008) of specific discharge across this boreal landscape. There was considerable variability in specific discharge across this landscape. The ratio of the interquartile range (IQR) defined as the difference between the 75th and 25th percentiles of the specific discharges to the median of the specific discharges ranged from 37% to 43%. Factor analysis was used to explore potential relations between landscape characteristics and the specific discharge observed for 55 of the individual locations that were measured in all three synoptic sampling campaigns. Percentage wet area (i.e., wetlands, mires, and lakes) and elevation were found to be directly related to the specific discharge during the drier September 2008 sampling while potential annual evaporation was found to be inversely related. There was less of a relationship determined during the wetter post spring flood May 2008 sampling and the late summer rewetted September 2005 sampling. These results indicate the ability of forests to “dry out” parts of the catchment over the summer months while wetlands “keep wet” other parts. To demonstrate the biogeochemical implications of such spatiotemporal variations in specific discharge, we estimate dissolved organic carbon (DOC) exports with available data for the May 2008 and September 2008 samplings using both the spatially variable observed specific discharges and the spatially constant catchment average values. The average absolute difference in DOC export for the various subcatchments between using a variable and using a constant specific discharge was 28% for the May 2008 sampling and 20% for the September 2008 sampling.

Abstract

Specific discharge variations within a mesoscale catchment were studied on the basis of three synoptic sampling campaigns. These were conducted during stable flow conditions within the Krycklan catchment study area in northern Sweden. During each campaign, about 80 individual locations were measured for discharge draining from catchment areas ranging between 0.12 and 67 km2. These discharge samplings allowed for the comparison between years within a given season (September 2005 versus September 2008) and between seasons within a given year (May 2008 versus September 2008) of specific discharge across this boreal landscape. There was considerable variability in specific discharge across this landscape. The ratio of the interquartile range (IQR) defined as the difference between the 75th and 25th percentiles of the specific discharges to the median of the specific discharges ranged from 37% to 43%. Factor analysis was used to explore potential relations between landscape characteristics and the specific discharge observed for 55 of the individual locations that were measured in all three synoptic sampling campaigns. Percentage wet area (i.e., wetlands, mires, and lakes) and elevation were found to be directly related to the specific discharge during the drier September 2008 sampling while potential annual evaporation was found to be inversely related. There was less of a relationship determined during the wetter post spring flood May 2008 sampling and the late summer rewetted September 2005 sampling. These results indicate the ability of forests to “dry out” parts of the catchment over the summer months while wetlands “keep wet” other parts. To demonstrate the biogeochemical implications of such spatiotemporal variations in specific discharge, we estimate dissolved organic carbon (DOC) exports with available data for the May 2008 and September 2008 samplings using both the spatially variable observed specific discharges and the spatially constant catchment average values. The average absolute difference in DOC export for the various subcatchments between using a variable and using a constant specific discharge was 28% for the May 2008 sampling and 20% for the September 2008 sampling.

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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:2012
Deposited On:30 Nov 2012 12:47
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 16:41
Publisher:American Geophysical Union
Series Name:Water Resources Research
ISSN:0043-1397
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1029/2011WR011073

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