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Runoff-based indicators of terrestrial water availability are appropriate for humid regions, but have tended to limit our basic hydrologic understanding of drylands – the dry-subhumid, semiarid, and arid regions which presently cover nearly half of the global land surface. In response, we introduce an indicator framework that gives equal weight to humid and dryland regions, accounting fully for both vertical (precipitation + evapotranspiration) and horizontal (groundwater + surface-water) components of the hydrologic cycle in any given location – as well as fluxes into and out of landscape storage. We apply the framework to a diverse hydroclimatic region (the conterminous USA) using a distributed water-balance model...
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Floodplain surface topography is an important component of floodplain ecosystems. It is the primary physical template upon which ecosystem processes are acted out, and complexity in this template can contribute to the high biodiversity and productivity of floodplain ecosystems. There has been a limited appreciation of floodplain surface complexity because of the traditional focus on temporal variability in floodplains as well as limitations to quantifying spatial complexity. An index of floodplain surface complexity (FSC) is developed in this paper and applied to eight floodplains from different geographic settings. The index is based on two key indicators of complexity, variability in surface geometry (VSG) and...
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Statistics of central tendency and dispersion may not capture relevant or desired characteristics of the distribution of continuous phenomena and, thus, they may not adequately describe temporal patterns of change. Here, we present two methodological approaches that can help to identify temporal changes in environmental regimes. First, we use higher-order statistical moments (skewness and kurtosis) to examine potential changes of empirical distributions at decadal extents. Second, we adapt a statistical procedure combining a non-metric multidimensional scaling technique and higher density region plots to detect potentially anomalous years. We illustrate the use of these approaches by examining long-term stream temperature...
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The Precipitation–Runoff Modeling System (PRMS), a distributed-parameter hydrologic model, has been applied to the conterminous US (CONUS). Parameter sensitivity analysis was used to identify: (1) the sensitive input parameters and (2) particular model output variables that could be associated with the dominant hydrologic process(es). Sensitivity values of 35 PRMS calibration parameters were computed using the Fourier amplitude sensitivity test procedure on 110 000 independent hydrologically based spatial modeling units covering the CONUS and then summarized to process (snowmelt, surface runoff, infiltration, soil moisture, evapotranspiration, interflow, baseflow, and runoff) and model performance statistic (mean,...
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Self-potentials (SP) are sensitive to water fluxes and concentration gradients in both saturated and unsaturated geological media, but quantitative interpretations of SP field data may often be hindered by the superposition of different source contributions and time-varying electrode potentials. Self-potential mapping and close to two months of SP monitoring on a gravel bar were performed to investigate the origins of SP signals at a restored river section of the Thur River in northeastern Switzerland. The SP mapping and subsequent inversion of the data indicate that the SP sources are mainly located in the upper few meters in regions of soil cover rather than bare gravel. Wavelet analyses of the time-series indicate...
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Winter cover crops are an effective conservation management practice with potential to improve water quality. Throughout the Chesapeake Bay Watershed (CBW), which is located in the Mid-Atlantic US, winter cover crop use has been emphasized and federal and state cost-share programs are available to farmers to subsidize the cost of winter cover crop establishment. The objective of this study was to assess the long-term effect of planting winter cover crops at the watershed scale and to identify critical source areas of high nitrate export. A physically-based watershed simulation model, Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT), was calibrated and validated using water quality monitoring data and satellite-based estimates...
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Results are presented of a detailed study into the vadose zone and shallow water table hydrodynamics of a field site in Shropshire, UK. A conceptual model is developed and tested using a range of numerical models, including a modified soil moisture balance model (SMBM) for estimating groundwater recharge in the presence of both diffuse and preferential flow components. Tensiometry reveals that the loamy sand topsoil wets up via macropore flow and subsequent redistribution of moisture into the soil matrix. Recharge does not occur until near-positive pressures are achieved at the top of the sandy glaciofluvial outwash material that underlies the topsoil, about 1 m above the water table. Once this occurs, very rapid...
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In the past decade, difficulties encountered in reproducing the results of a cancer study at Duke University resulted in a scandal and an investigation which concluded that tools used for data management, analysis, and modeling were inappropriate for the documentation of the study, let alone the reproduction of the results. New protocols were developed which require that data analysis and modeling be carried out with scripts that can be used to reproduce the results and are a record of all decisions and interpretations made during an analysis or a modeling effort. In the hydrological sciences, we face similar challenges and need to develop similar standards for transparency and repeatability of results. A promising...
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In the United States, estimation of flood frequency quantiles at ungauged locations has been largely based on regional regression techniques that relate measurable catchment descriptors to flood quantiles. More recently, spatial interpolation techniques of point data have been shown to be effective for predicting streamflow statistics (i.e., flood flows and low-flow indices) in ungauged catchments. Literature reports successful applications of two techniques, canonical kriging, CK (or physiographical-space-based interpolation, PSBI), and topological kriging, TK (or top-kriging). CK performs the spatial interpolation of the streamflow statistic of interest in the two-dimensional space of catchment descriptors. TK...
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Many karst aquifers are rapidly filled and depleted and therefore are likely to be susceptible to changes in short-term climate variability. Here we explore methods that could be applied to model site-specific hydraulic responses, with the intent of simulating these responses to different climate scenarios from high-resolution climate models. We compare hydraulic responses (spring flow, groundwater level, stream base flow, and cave drip) at several sites in two karst aquifers: the Edwards aquifer (Texas, USA) and the Madison aquifer (South Dakota, USA). A lumped-parameter model simulates nonlinear soil moisture changes for estimation of recharge, and a time-variant convolution model simulates the aquifer response...
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Climate change is expected to have the greatest impact on the world's poor. In the Sahel, a climatically sensitive region where rain-fed agriculture is the primary livelihood, expected decreases in water supply will increase food insecurity. Studies on climate change and the intensification of the water cycle in sub-Saharan Africa are few. This is due in part to poor calibration of modeled actual evapotranspiration (AET), a key input in continental-scale hydrologic models. In this study, a model driven by dynamic canopy AET was combined with the Global Land Data Assimilation System realization of the NOAH Land Surface Model (GNOAH) wet canopy and soil AET for monitoring purposes in sub-Saharan Africa. The performance...
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The one-dimensional hydrodynamic ice model, DYRESM-WQ-I, was modified to simulate ice cover and thermal structure of dimictic Lake Mendota, Wisconsin, USA, over a continuous 104-year period (1911–2014). The model results were then used to examine the drivers of changes in ice cover and water temperature, focusing on the responses to shifts in air temperature, wind speed, and water clarity at multiyear timescales. Observations of the drivers include a change in the trend of warming air temperatures from 0.081 °C per decade before 1981 to 0.334 °C per decade thereafter, as well as a shift in mean wind speed from 4.44 m s−1 before 1994 to 3.74 m s−1 thereafter. Observations show that Lake Mendota has experienced significant...
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Daily streamflows are often represented by flow duration curves (FDCs), which illustrate the frequency with which flows are equaled or exceeded. FDCs have had broad applications across both operational and research hydrology for decades; however, modeling FDCs has proven elusive. Daily streamflow is a complex time series with flow values ranging over many orders of magnitude. The identification of a probability distribution that can approximate daily streamflow would improve understanding of the behavior of daily flows and the ability to estimate FDCs at ungaged river locations. Comparisons of modeled and empirical FDCs at nearly 400 unregulated, perennial streams illustrate that the four-parameter kappa distribution...
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Most models evaluated by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate change estimate projected increases in temperature and precipitation with rising atmospheric CO2 levels. Researchers have suggested that increases in CO2 and associated increases in temperature and precipitation may stimulate vegetation growth and increase evapotranspiration (ET), which acts as a cooling mechanism, and on a global scale, may slow the climate-warming trend. This hypothesis has been modeled under increased CO2 conditions with models of different vegetation-climate dynamics. The significance of this vegetation negative feedback, however, has varied between models. Here we conduct a century-scale observational analysis of the Eastern US...
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A parameter regionalization scheme to transfer parameter values from gaged to ungaged areas for a monthly water balance model (MWBM) was developed and tested for the conterminous United States (CONUS). The Fourier Amplitude Sensitivity Test, a global-sensitivity algorithm, was implemented on a MWBM to generate parameter sensitivities on a set of 109 951 hydrologic response units (HRUs) across the CONUS. The HRUs were grouped into 110 calibration regions based on similar parameter sensitivities. Subsequently, measured runoff from 1575 streamgages within the calibration regions were used to calibrate the MWBM parameters to produce parameter sets for each calibration region. Measured and simulated runoff at the 1575...
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Turbidity, a measure of water clarity, is monitored for a variety of purposes including (1) to help determine whether water is safe to drink, (2) to establish background conditions of lakes and rivers and detect pollution caused by construction projects and stormwater discharge, (3) to study sediment transport in rivers and erosion in catchments, (4) to manage siltation of water reservoirs, and (5) to establish connections with aquatic biological properties, such as primary production and predator–prey interactions. Turbidity is typically measured with an optical probe that detects light scattered from particles in the water. Probes have defined upper limits of the range of turbidity that they can measure. The general...
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Self-potentials (SP) are sensitive to water fluxes and concentration gradients in both saturated and unsaturated geological media, but quantitative interpretations of SP field data may often be hindered by the superposition of different source contributions and time-varying electrode potentials. Self-potential mapping and close to two months of SP monitoring on a gravel bar were performed to investigate the origins of SP signals at a restored river section of the Thur River in northeastern Switzerland. The SP mapping and subsequent inversion of the data indicate that the SP sources are mainly located in the upper few meters in regions of soil cover rather than bare gravel. Wavelet analyses of the time-series indicate...
Flood safety is of the utmost concern for water resources management agencies charged with operating and maintaining reservoir systems. Risk evaluations guide design of infrastructure alterations or lead to potential changes in operations. Changes in climate may change the risk due to floods and therefore decisions to alter infrastructure with a life span of decades or longer may benefit from the use of climate projections as opposed to use of only historical observations. This manuscript presents a set of methods meant to support flood frequency evaluation based on current downscaled climate projections and the potential implications of changing flood risk on how evaluations are made. Methods are demonstrated in...
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We illustrate the ability to monitor the status of snowpack over large areas by using a~spatially distributed snow accumulation and ablation model in the Upper Colorado Basin. The model was forced with precipitation fields from the National Weather Service (NWS) Multi-sensor Precipitation Estimator (MPE) and the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) datasets; remaining meteorological model input data was from NOAA's Global Forecast System (GFS) model output fields. The simulated snow water equivalent (SWE) was compared to SWEs from the Snow Data Assimilation System (SNODAS) and SNOwpack TELemetry system (SNOTEL) over a~region of the Western United States that covers parts of the Upper Colorado Basin. We also...


map background search result map search result map Prediction, time variance, and classification of hydraulic response to recharge in two karst aquifers Prediction, time variance, and classification of hydraulic response to recharge in two karst aquifers