Applied tracers for the observation of subsurface stormflow at the hillslope scale

  • Rain fall-runoff response in temperate humid headwater catchments is mainly controlled by hydrolo gical processes at the hillslope scale. Applied tracer experiments with fluore scent dye and salt tracers are well known tools in groundwater studies at the large scale and vadose zone studies at the plot scale, where they provide a means to characterise subsurface flow. We extend this approach to the hillslope scale to investigate saturated and unsaturated flow path s concertedly at a forested hill slope in the Austrian Alps. Dye staining experiments at the plot scale revealed that crack s and soil pipe s function as preferential flow path s in the fine-textured soils of the study area, and these preferenti al flow structures were active in fast subsurface transport of tracers at the hillslope scale. Breakthrough curves obtained under steady flow conditions could be fitted well to a one-dimensional convection-dispersion model. Under natural rain fall a positive correlation of tracer concentrations to the transient flows was observed. TheRain fall-runoff response in temperate humid headwater catchments is mainly controlled by hydrolo gical processes at the hillslope scale. Applied tracer experiments with fluore scent dye and salt tracers are well known tools in groundwater studies at the large scale and vadose zone studies at the plot scale, where they provide a means to characterise subsurface flow. We extend this approach to the hillslope scale to investigate saturated and unsaturated flow path s concertedly at a forested hill slope in the Austrian Alps. Dye staining experiments at the plot scale revealed that crack s and soil pipe s function as preferential flow path s in the fine-textured soils of the study area, and these preferenti al flow structures were active in fast subsurface transport of tracers at the hillslope scale. Breakthrough curves obtained under steady flow conditions could be fitted well to a one-dimensional convection-dispersion model. Under natural rain fall a positive correlation of tracer concentrations to the transient flows was observed. The results of this study demon strate qualitative and quantitative effects of preferential flow feature s on subsurface stormflow in a temperate humid headwater catchment. It turn s out that , at the hill slope scale, the interaction s of structures and processes are intrinsically complex, which implies that attempts to model such a hillslope satisfactorily require detailed investigation s of effective structures and parameters at the scale of interest.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Jan Wienhöfer, Kai Germer, Falk Lindenmaier, Arne Färber, Erwin Zehe
URN:urn:nbn:de:kobv:517-opus-45246
Series (Serial Number):Postprints der Universität Potsdam : Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Reihe, ISSN 1866-8372 (paper 146)
Document Type:Postprint
Language:English
Date of Publication (online):2010/07/21
Year of Completion:2009
Publishing Institution:Universität Potsdam
Release Date:2010/07/21
Tag:Saturated hydraulic conductivity; fluorescent dyes; preferential flow pathways; runoff generation; solute transport
Source:Hydrology and earth system sciences 13 (2009), 7, S. 1145 - 1161
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Geoökologie
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 55 Geowissenschaften, Geologie / 550 Geowissenschaften
Licence (English):License LogoCreative Commons - Attribution 3.0 unported
Notes extern:
The article was originally published by Copernicus Publications:
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences. - 13 (2009), 7, S. 1145-1161
ISSN 1027-5606