Special Issue "Catchments as Observatories of the Hydrological and Biogeochemical Functioning of the Critical Zone"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Hydrology and Hydrogeology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Jean-Luc PROBST
Website
Guest Editor
ECOLAB, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), University of Toulouse, campus ENSAT, Auzeville Tolosane, France
Interests: biogeochemitry; catchment hydrology; river transports; weathering; erosion; carbon cycle; major elements; nutrients; suspended matters; trace elements; rare earth elements; pesticides; stable isotopes; critical zone
Dr. Anne PROBST
Website
Guest Editor
ECOLAB, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), University of Toulouse, campus ENSAT, Auzeville Tolosane, France
Interests: Environmental biogeochemistry; soil and water contamination; acid atmospheric deposition; nitrogen and trace metal deposition; chemical weathering; forest-eco-pedology; critical load modelling; small catchment; mining impact; agriculture impact

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Catchments are geographic, geomorphologic and hydrologic unities, today recognized to be relevant natural infrastructures for supporting the development of new research on the critical zone and the management of water resources and soil protection at the continental scale, as well as at regional or local scales. The long term survey of rivers allows us to determine the impacts of climate changes and anthropogenic activities on the hydrological and biogeochemical functioning of their drainage basin, but also on soil erosion, pollutant transfers, biogeochemical cycles, soil and water quality, living organisms and terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. They also allow us to assess the relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, ecosystem services and finally, the relationships between man, societies and their environments at different scales.

A better understanding of the mechanisms and a better estimation of mass balances at the scale of catchments requires us to set up long-term surveys to take into account the recurrence of dry and humid periods. These surveys must be done with a high resolution or even continuously (using multi-parameter probes with different sensors) during flood events (“hot moments”), which are the main periods of soil erosion and river transport. The input and output of water and sediment fluxes and their chemical and isotopic composition must be evaluated in relation to changes in climate, hydrology, land cover and agricultural practices. These global surveys make such catchments real environmental observatories of the continental surfaces and interfaces, and particularly of what we today call the critical zone.

This Special Issue calls for innovative papers:

- to show the advances in the coupling of hydrological, biogeochemical and/or ecological approaches to better understand the processes that control the functioning of the critical zone at the scale of catchments, from small catchments until large river basins.

- to show how to survey “catchment pulsation” using continuous or high-frequency measurements in order to assess new hydrological and bigeochemical processes and to better estimate the mass balance of particulate and solute river loads and of physical erosion and chemical weathering.

- to determine the respective contribution of climate change and anthropogenic activities on interannual fluctuations and the long-term trends in hydrological and biogeochemical parameters measured in the river systems.

- to show how to use integrative modelling approaches to better simulate the riverine fluxes of dissolved and particulate elements, organic and inorganic, originating from natural or anthropogenic sources.

Dr. Jean-Luc PROBST
Dr. Anne PROBST
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • innovative approaches
  • critical zone
  • integrative modelling
  • coupling hydrology and biogeochemistry
  • catchment
  • river
  • climate change
  • anthropognenic impact
  • high frequency measurements
  • long term trends
  • solute river loads
  • particulate river loads
  • physical erosion
  • chemical weathering
  • suspended matter
  • nutrients
  • carbon
  • major elements
  • trace elements
  • contaminants

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
A Forty-Year Karstic Critical Zone Survey (Baget Catchment, Pyrenees-France): Lithologic and Hydroclimatic Controls on Seasonal and Inter-Annual Variations of Stream Water Chemical Composition, pCO2, and Carbonate Equilibrium
Water 2020, 12(5), 1227; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12051227 - 25 Apr 2020
Abstract
The long-term trends and seasonal patterns of stream water chemical composition in a small remote forested karst catchment, were investigated from 1978 to 2018. Calcium, magnesium, and bicarbonates, the dominant ions, increased over the period together with temperature, while sulfates decreased. Carbonate and [...] Read more.
The long-term trends and seasonal patterns of stream water chemical composition in a small remote forested karst catchment, were investigated from 1978 to 2018. Calcium, magnesium, and bicarbonates, the dominant ions, increased over the period together with temperature, while sulfates decreased. Carbonate and sulfate mineral dissolution was the main source of these elements. These trends and the seasonal opposite patterns of discharge vs. temperature, calcite saturation index vs. pCO2 and bicarbonate vs. sulfates, suggested the influence of discharge, of reduced long-range atmospheric pollution, and of increasing air temperature on biological activity and carbonate dissolution. Furthermore, the hydrological regime controlled the seasonal stream water chemical composition and fluxes by: (i) a dilution during the high discharge period, (ii) a change in the contribution rate of the waters draining different lithological areas in the catchment, e.g., the increased sulfates to bicarbonates ratio during summer low flows, with a maximum alkalinity decrease of 24%, and (iii) a “piston” and a “flushing” effects of dissolved elements stored in soils and epikarst with the first autumn heavy rains. Long-term stream water hydrochemical surveys of karst system have proved to be powerful indicators of biogeochemical processes, water sources and pathways under variable natural and anthropogenic environmental pressure conditions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Climatic Variabilities Control the Solute Dynamics of Monsoon Karstic River: Approaches from C-Q Relationship, Isotopes, and Model Analysis in the Liujiang River
Water 2020, 12(3), 862; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12030862 - 19 Mar 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The dynamics of riverine solutes’ contents and sources reflect geological, ecological, and climatic information of the draining basin. This study investigated the influence of climatic variability on solute dynamics by the high-frequency hydrogeochemical monitory in the Liujiang River draining karst terrain of Guangxi [...] Read more.
The dynamics of riverine solutes’ contents and sources reflect geological, ecological, and climatic information of the draining basin. This study investigated the influence of climatic variability on solute dynamics by the high-frequency hydrogeochemical monitory in the Liujiang River draining karst terrain of Guangxi Province, SW (Southwestern) China. In the study river, the content-discharge (C-Q) patterns of riverine solutes indicate that the majority of riverine solutes show similar dilution and near chemostatic behaviors responding to increasing discharge, especially geogenic solutes (such as weathering products from carbonate, silicate, and sulfide oxidation), whereas exogenous solutes (such as atmospheric input to riverine sulfate) and biological solutes (such as soil CO2) show higher contents with increasing discharge. Besides, the biological carbon is the main driver of the chemostatic behaviors of total dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC). The forward model results show that carbonate weathering dominates the water chemistry, and the weathering rates are intensified during high flow period due to additional inputs of weathering agents, i.e., the biologic carbonic acid from dissolution of soil CO2, indicated by δ13CDIC. In addition, there exists the strong capacity of CO2 consumption that is heavily dependent on climatic variables such as precipitation and air temperature in this study river. Our study highlights the impact of climatic variability on solutes dynamics and chemical weathering and thus must be better addressed in C models under future climate change scenarios. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Ubiquitous Fractal Scaling and Filtering Behavior of Hydrologic Fluxes and Storages from A Mountain Headwater Catchment
Water 2020, 12(2), 613; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12020613 - 24 Feb 2020
Abstract
We used the weighted wavelet method to perform spectral analysis of observed long-term precipitation, streamflow, actual evapotranspiration, and soil water storage at a sub-humid mountain catchment near Tucson, Arizona, USA. Fractal scaling in precipitation and the daily change in soil water storage occurred [...] Read more.
We used the weighted wavelet method to perform spectral analysis of observed long-term precipitation, streamflow, actual evapotranspiration, and soil water storage at a sub-humid mountain catchment near Tucson, Arizona, USA. Fractal scaling in precipitation and the daily change in soil water storage occurred up to a period of 14 days and corresponded to the typical duration of relatively wet and dry intervals. In contrast, fractal scaling could be observed up to a period of 0.5 years in streamflow and actual evapotranspiration. By considering long-term observations of hydrologic fluxes and storages, we show that, in contrast to previous findings, the phase relationships between water balance components changed with component period and were not perfectly in or out of phase at all periods. Self-averaging behavior was apparent, but the temporal scales over which this behavior was applicable differed among the various water balance components. Conservative tracer analysis showed that this catchment acted as a fractal filter by transforming white noise in the precipitation input signal to a 1/f flicker in the streamflow output signal by means of both spatial and temporal subsurface advection and dispersion processes and soil wetting properties. This study provides an improved understanding of hydrological filtering behavior in mountain critical zones that are critical sources of water and ecosystem services throughout the world. Full article
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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
Water 2019, 11(12), 2637; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11122637 - 13 Dec 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
On the Relationship between Suspended Sediment Concentration, Rainfall Variability and Groundwater: An Empirical and Probabilistic Analysis for the Andean Beni River, Bolivia (2003–2016)
Water 2019, 11(12), 2497; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11122497 - 27 Nov 2019
Abstract
Fluvial sediment dynamics plays a key role in the Amazonian environment, with most of the sediments originating in the Andes. The Madeira River, the second largest tributary of the Amazon River, contributes up to 50% of its sediment discharge to the Atlantic Ocean, [...] Read more.
Fluvial sediment dynamics plays a key role in the Amazonian environment, with most of the sediments originating in the Andes. The Madeira River, the second largest tributary of the Amazon River, contributes up to 50% of its sediment discharge to the Atlantic Ocean, most of it provided by the Andean part of the Madeira basin, in particular the Beni River. In this study, we assessed the rainfall (R)-surface suspended sediment concentration (SSSC) and discharge (Q)-SSSC relationship at the Rurrenabaque station (200 m a.s.l.) in the Beni Andean piedmont (Bolivia). We started by showing how the R and Q relationship varies throughout the hydrological year (September to August), describing a counter-clockwise hysteresis, and went on to evaluate the R–SSSC and Q–SSSC relationships. Although no marked hysteresis is observed in the first case, a clockwise hysteresis is described in the second. In spite of this, the rating curve normally used ( SSSC = aQ b ) shows a satisfactory R2 = 0.73 (p < 0.05). With regard to water discharge components, a linear function relates the direct surface flow Qs–SSSC, and a hysteresis is observed in the relationship between the base flow Qb and SSSC. A higher base flow index (Qb/Q) is related to lower SSSC and vice versa. This article highlights the role of base flow on sediment dynamics and provides a method to analyze it through a seasonal empirical model combining the influence of both Qb and Qs, which could be employed in other watersheds. A probabilistic method to examine the SSSC relationship with R and Q is also proposed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Transfer Pathways and Fluxes of Water-Soluble Pesticides in Various Compartments of the Agricultural Catchment of the Canche River (Northern France)
Water 2019, 11(7), 1428; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11071428 - 11 Jul 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Five frequently used water-soluble pesticides (atrazine, diflufenican, metolachlor, pendimethalin, and ethofumesate) were monitored in surface water and groundwater of an agricultural catchment (Canche River) in Northern France for examining the edge-of-field pathways of substances and their characteristic time of transport. The study of [...] Read more.
Five frequently used water-soluble pesticides (atrazine, diflufenican, metolachlor, pendimethalin, and ethofumesate) were monitored in surface water and groundwater of an agricultural catchment (Canche River) in Northern France for examining the edge-of-field pathways of substances and their characteristic time of transport. The study of surface water contamination was conducted in 2016 through two time scales: continuously over one year at a single location of the catchment and punctually during four seasons at 15 sampling locations along a longitudinal river profile. In addition, groundwater in winter and summer shows a generally low and relatively constant contamination level. Nevertheless, the outflow of pesticides from groundwater results in a background contamination of surface water. In addition to this, a contamination peak above the baseline level is observed in surface water subsequently to the period of substance application on the fields. Our results show that pesticides were essentially transported into the surface water by fast flow components (runoff water). Loss of pesticides during the contamination peak period and long-term monitoring were compared showing that the transport of substances within weeks after pesticides spreading dominates the annual flux of pesticides, except for atrazine which shows a constant background contamination pattern. Low frequency monitoring schemes provide only a partial picture of the contamination state and do not enable to evaluate the true contamination state of such rivers with regard to the fact that 3/4 of the annual load of pesticides are transported in the stream during only 2–3 months. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Decline of Fine Suspended Sediments in the Madeira River Basin (2003–2017)
Water 2019, 11(3), 514; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11030514 - 12 Mar 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
The Madeira River is the second largest Amazon tributary, contributing up to 50% of the Amazon River’s sediment load. The Madeira has significant hydropower potential, which has started to be used by the Madeira Hydroelectric Complex (MHC), with two large dams along the [...] Read more.
The Madeira River is the second largest Amazon tributary, contributing up to 50% of the Amazon River’s sediment load. The Madeira has significant hydropower potential, which has started to be used by the Madeira Hydroelectric Complex (MHC), with two large dams along the middle stretch of the river. In this study, fine suspended sediment concentration (FSC) data were assessed downstream of the MHC at the Porto Velho gauging station and at the outlet of each tributary (Beni and Mamoré Rivers, upstream from the MHC), from 2003 to 2017. When comparing the pre-MHC (2003–2008) and post-MHC (2015–2017) periods, a 36% decrease in FSC was observed in the Beni River during the peak months of sediment load (December–March). At Porto Velho, a reduction of 30% was found, which responds to the Upper Madeira Basin and hydroelectric regulation. Concerning water discharge, no significant change occurred, indicating that a lower peak FSC cannot be explained by changes in the peak discharge months. However, lower FSCs are associated with a downward break in the overall time series registered at the outlet of the major sediment supplier—the Beni River—during 2010. Full article
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