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Open AccessArticle

Variability of Water Transit Time Distributions at the Strengbach Catchment (Vosges Mountains, France) Inferred Through Integrated Hydrological Modeling and Particle Tracking Algorithms

LHyGeS UMR 7517, Department of Earth Sciences, Université de Strasbourg, CNRS, ENGEES, F-67000 Strasbourg, France
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Water 2019, 11(12), 2637; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11122637
Received: 30 October 2019 / Revised: 28 November 2019 / Accepted: 9 December 2019 / Published: 13 December 2019
The temporal variability of transit-time distributions (TTDs) and residence-time distributions (RTDs) has received particular attention recently, but such variability has barely been studied using distributed hydrological modeling. In this study, a low-dimensional integrated hydrological model is run in combination with particle-tracking algorithms to investigate the temporal variability of TTDs, RTDs, and StorAge Selection (SAS) functions in the small, mountainous Strengbach watershed belonging to the French network of critical-zone observatories. The particle-tracking algorithms employed rely upon both forward and backward formulations that are specifically developed to handle time-variable velocity fields and evaluate TTDs and RTDs under transient hydrological conditions. The model is calibrated using both traditional streamflow measurements and magnetic resonance sounding (MRS)—which is sensitive to the subsurface water content—and then verified over a ten-year period. The results show that the mean transit time is rather short, at 150–200 days, and that the TTDs and RTDs are not greatly influenced by water storage within the catchment. This specific behavior is mainly explained by the small size of the catchment and its small storage capacity, a rapid flow mainly controlled by gravity along steep slopes, and climatic features that keep the contributive zone around the stream wet all year long. View Full-Text
Keywords: integrated hydrological modeling; mountainous catchment; particle tracking; storage selection functions; transit and residence time distributions integrated hydrological modeling; mountainous catchment; particle tracking; storage selection functions; transit and residence time distributions
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Weill, S.; Lesparre, N.; Jeannot, B.; Delay, F. Variability of Water Transit Time Distributions at the Strengbach Catchment (Vosges Mountains, France) Inferred Through Integrated Hydrological Modeling and Particle Tracking Algorithms. Water 2019, 11, 2637.

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