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Water 2018, 10(7), 904; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10070904

Flow Partitioning Modelling Using High-Resolution Isotopic and Electrical Conductivity Data

1
Departamento de Recursos Hídricos y Ciencias Ambientales, Facultad de Ingeniería, Facultad de Ciencias Agropecuarias, Universidad de Cuenca, Cuenca 010111, Ecuador
2
Institute for Landscape Ecology and Resources Management (ILR), Research Centre for BioSystems, Land Use and Nutrition (IFZ), Justus Liebig University Giessen, 35392 Giessen, Germany
3
Department of Forest Engineering, Resources, and Management, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97330, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 May 2018 / Revised: 6 July 2018 / Accepted: 6 July 2018 / Published: 9 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Hydrology)
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Abstract

Water-stable isotopic (WSI) data are widely used in hydrological modelling investigations. However, the long-term monitoring of these tracers at high-temporal resolution (sub-hourly) remains challenging due to technical and financial limitations. Thus, alternative tracers that allow continuous high-frequency monitoring for identifying fast-occurring hydrological processes via numerical simulations are needed. We used a flexible numerical flow-partitioning model (TraSPAN) that simulates tracer mass balance and water flux response to investigate the relative contributions of event (new) and pre-event (old) water fractions to total runoff. We tested four TraSPAN structures that represent different hydrological functioning to simulate storm flow partitioning for an event in a headwater forested temperate catchment in Western, Oregon, USA using four-hour WSI and 0.25-h electrical conductivity (EC) data. Our results showed strong fits of the water flux and tracer signals and a remarkable level of agreement of flow partitioning proportions and overall process-based hydrological understanding when the model was calibrated using either tracer. In both cases, the best model of the rainstorm event indicated that the proportion of effective precipitation routed as event water varies over time and that water is stored and routed through two reservoir pairs for event and pre-event. Our results provide great promise for the use of sub-hourly monitored EC as an alternative tracer to WSI in hydrological modelling applications that require long-term high-resolution data to investigate non-stationarities in hydrological systems. View Full-Text
Keywords: high-resolution tracer data; rainfall-runoff modelling; hydrograph separation; electrical conductivity/specific conductance; tracer hydrology; water stable isotopes high-resolution tracer data; rainfall-runoff modelling; hydrograph separation; electrical conductivity/specific conductance; tracer hydrology; water stable isotopes
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Mosquera, G.M.; Segura, C.; Crespo, P. Flow Partitioning Modelling Using High-Resolution Isotopic and Electrical Conductivity Data. Water 2018, 10, 904.

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