Abstract: Large parts of the northern hemisphere are covered by snow and seasonal frost. Climate warming is affecting spatiotemporal variations of snow and frost, hence influencing snowmelt infiltration, aquifer recharge and river runoff patterns. Measurement difficulties have hampered progress in properly assessing how variations in snow and frost impact snowmelt infiltration. This has led to contradicting findings. Some studies indicate that groundwater recharge response is scale dependent. It is thus important to measure snow and soil frost properties with temporal and spatial scales appropriate to improve infiltration process knowledge. The main aim with this paper is therefore to review ground based methods to measure snow properties (depth, density, water equivalent, wetness, and layering) and soil frost properties (depth, water and ice content, permeability, and distance to groundwater) and to make recommendations for process studies aiming to improve knowledge regarding infiltration in regions with seasonal frost. Ground-based radar (GBR) comes in many different combinations and can, depending on design, be used to assess both spatial and temporal variations in snow and frost so combinations of GBR and tracer techniques can be recommended and new promising methods (auocostics and self potential) are evolving, but the study design must be adapted to the scales, the aims and the resources of the study.
Abstract: Under rainfall conditions, aggregates may suffer breakdown by different mechanisms. Slaking is a very efficient breakdown mechanism. However, its occurrence under rainfall conditions has not been demonstrated. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the occurrence of slaking under rain. Two soils with silt loam (SL) and clay loam (CL) textures were analyzed. Two classes of aggregates were utilized: 1–3 mm and 3–5 mm. The aggregates were submitted to stability tests and to high intensity (90 mm·h−1) and low intensity (28 mm·h−1) rainfalls, and different kinetic energy impacts (large and small raindrops) using a rainfall simulator. The fragment size distributions were determined both after the stability tests and rainfall simulations, with the calculation of the mean weighted diameter (MWD). After the stability tests the SL presented smaller MWDs for all stability tests when compared to the CL. In both soils the lowest MWD was obtained using the fast wetting test, showing they were sensitive to slaking. For both soils and the two aggregate classes evaluated, the MWDs were recorded from the early beginning of the rainfall event under the four rainfall conditions. The occurrence of slaking in the evaluated soils was not verified under the simulated rainfall conditions studied. The early disaggregation was strongly related to the cumulative kinetic energy, advocating for the occurrence of mechanical breakdown. Because slaking requires a very high wetting rate on initially dry aggregates, it seems unlikely to occur under field conditions, except perhaps for furrow irrigation.
Abstract: Potential implications of rainfall variability along with Land Use and Land Cover Change (LULC) on stream flow have been assessed in the Black Volta basin using the SWAT model. The spatio-temporal variability of rainfall over the Black Volta was assessed using the Mann-Kendall monotonic trend test and the Sen’s slope for the period 1976–2011. The statistics of the trend test showed that 61.4% of the rain gauges presented an increased precipitation trend whereas the rest of the stations showed a decreased trend. However, the test performed at the 95% confidence interval level showed that the detected trends in the rainfall data were not statistically significant. Land use trends between the year 2000 and 2013 show that within thirteen years, land use classes like bare land, urban areas, water bodies, agricultural lands, deciduous forests and evergreen forests have increased respectively by 67.06%, 33.22%, 7.62%, 29.66%, 60.18%, and 38.38%. Only grass land has decreased by 44.54% within this period. Changes in seasonal stream flow due to LULC were assessed by defining dry and wet seasons. The results showed that from year 2000 to year 2013, the dry season discharge has increased by 6% whereas the discharge of wet season has increased by 1%. The changes in stream flows components such us surface run-off (SURF_Q), lateral flow (LAT_Q) and ground water contribution to stream flow (GW_Q) and also on evapotranspiration (ET) changes due to LULC was evaluated. The results showed that between the year 2000 and 2013, SURF_Q and LAT_Q have respectively increased by 27% and 19% while GW_Q has decreased by 6% while ET has increased by 4.59%. The resultant effects are that the water yield to stream flow has increased by 4%.
Abstract: Forestry operations can significantly alter hydrological and erosional processes in a catchment. In the course of developing timberland, a network of persistent roads and skid trails causing soil compaction is usually established. Hereby, the infiltration rate of the soil is distinctly reduced, which leads to the generation of overland flow—this may also cause soil erosion. In this study, a small-scale rainfall simulator is used to investigate hydrological and erosional processes on forest roads and skid trails. The results show increased runoff rates on forest roads, up to 25 times higher than on undisturbed forest topsoil. On skid trails, the runoff rates were altered especially in rutted areas (16 times higher) while unrutted parts showed a lesser change (four times higher). With sufficient overland flow, soil erosion rates also rose, particularly when the vegetation cover of the surface was removed: bare road surfaces featured higher mean erosion rates (195 g·m−2) than partly or completely vegetated skid trails (13 g·m−2) and undisturbed sites (5 g·m−2). The findings presented in this study indicate the need for the use of compaction reducing technology during forestry operations and a revegetation of road surfaces in order to minimize the detrimental factor of roads and skid trails on water retention and soil conservation.
Abstract: Realistic modeling of infiltration, runoff and erosion processes from watersheds requires estimation of the effective hydraulic conductivity (Km) of the hillslope soils and how it varies with soil tilth, depth and cover conditions. Field rainfall simulation (RS) plot studies provide an opportunity to assess the surface soil hydraulic and erodibility conditions, but a standardized interpretation and comparison of results of this kind from a wide variety of test conditions has been difficult. Here, we develop solutions to the combined set of time-to-ponding/runoff and Green– Ampt infiltration equations to determine Km values from RS test plot results and compare them to the simpler calculation of steady rain minus runoff rates. Relating soil detachment rates to stream power, we also examine the determination of “erodibility” as the ratio thereof. Using data from over 400 RS plot studies across the Lake Tahoe Basin area that employ a wide range of rain rates across a range of soil slopes and conditions, we find that the Km values can be determined from the combined infiltration equation for ~80% of the plot data and that the laminar flow form of stream power best described a constant “erodibility” across a range of volcanic skirun soil conditions. Moreover, definition of stream power based on laminar flows obviates the need for assumption of an arbitrary Mannings “n” value and the restriction to mild slopes (<10%). The infiltration equation based Km values, though more variable, were on average equivalent to that determined from the simpler calculation of steady rain minus steady runoff rates from the RS plots. However, these Km values were much smaller than those determined from other field test methods. Finally, we compare RS plot results from use of different rainfall simulators in the basin and demonstrate that despite the varying configurations and rain intensities, similar erodibilities were determined across a range of infiltration and runoff rates using the laminar form of the stream power equation.
Abstract: The study focused on investigating the presence of change patterns in 600 unimpaired streamflow stations across the continental U.S. at different time intervals to understand the change patterns that can provide significant insight regarding climate variability and change. Each station had continuous streamflow data of at least 30 years (the entire dataset covered a range of 109 years). Presence of trends and shifts were detected in water year and the four seasons (fall, winter, spring, and summer) analyzing the water year and seasonal mean flows. Two non-parametric tests, namely, the Mann-Kendall test and the Pettitt’s test were used to identify the trends and the shifts, respectively. The results showed an increasing trend in the northeast and upper-mid regions, whereas southeast and northwest regions underwent a decrease. Shifts followed similar patterns as trends with higher number of stations with significant change. Fall and spring showed the highest number of stations with increasing and decreasing change, respectively, in the seasonal analyses. Results of this study may assist water managers to understand the streamflow change patterns across the continental U.S., especially at the regional scale since this study covers a long range of years with a large number of stations in each region.