Currently browsing tag

watershed hydrology

Hydro graduate student summer opportunity (neat stuff)

As seen on the NC water-research listserv:

Call for Applications (see attached)
CUNY Environmental Cross-Roads Initiative and Northeast Consortium for Hydrologic Synthesis Third Annual Summer Synthesis Institute:
The 20th Century: Relationships Linking Water and People June 1 – July 16, 2010 City University of New York, New York.

We invite you to apply to the 2010 Summer Synthesis Institute funded by the National Science Foundation and the Consortium of Universities Allied for Hydrological Sciences (CUAHSI) and hosted by the CUNY Environmental Cross-Roads Initiative and the Northeast Consortium for Hydrologic Synthesis. The Synthesis Institute is a six-week intensive research collaborative that offers advanced graduate students the opportunity to conduct interdisciplinary research on the role of humans in shaping the character of hydrologic systems across the Northeast Corridor from 1600 to 2100. The two previous Institutes focused on the colonial era and 19th century.

For further information please visit
Email completed application materials to

Deadline for applications is February 15th, 2010

CUAHSI is the Consortium of Universities Allied for Hydrological Sciences, Inc. representing more than 100 institutions. The Institute is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation under the aegis of CUAHSI.

My picks of the November literature

It is not that there was no October literature to pick. My time to read articles simply disappeared in the lead-up to and excitement of the Geological Society of America meeting. This month, however, I am back on track and I will try to update this post as I move through the last few weeks of November.

Fussel, H-M. 2009. An updated assessment of the risks from climate change based on research published since the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report. Climatic Change (2009) 97:469–482. doi:10.1007/s10584-009-9648-5
The takeaway message is this: While some topics are still under debate (e.g., changes to tropical cyclones), most recent research indicates that things are looking even worse now than we thought a few years ago. Greenhouse gas emissions are rising faster than we anticipated, and we have already committed to substantial warming, which is currently somewhat masked by high aerosol concentrations. It is increasingly urgent to find mitigation and adaptation strategies. Not good.

Gardner, LR. 2009. Assessing the effect of climate change on mean annual runoff. Journal of Hydrology. 379 (3-4): 351-359. doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2009.10.021
This fascinating article starts by showing a strong correlation (r2 = 0.94) between mean annual runoff and a function of potential evapotranspiration and precipitation. The author then goes on to derive an equation that shows how temperature increases can be used to calculate the change in evapotranspiration, therefore solving the water budget and allowing the calculation of the change in mean annual runoff. Conversely, the same equation can be used to solve for the necessary increase in precipitation to sustain current runoff under different warming scenarios.

Schuler, T. V., and U. H. Fischer. 2009.Modeling the diurnal variation of tracer transit velocity through a subglacial channel, J. Geophys. Res., 114, F04017, doi:10.1029/2008JF001238.
The authors made multiple dye tracer injections into a glacial moulin and then measured discharge and tracer breakthrough at the proglacial channel. They found strong hysteresis in the relationship between tracer velocity and proglacial discharge and attributed this hysteresis to the adjustment of the size of a subglacial Röthlisberger channel to hydraulic conditions that change over the course of the day. Cool!

Bense, V. F., G. Ferguson, and H. Kooi (2009), Evolution of shallow groundwater flow systems in areas of degrading permafrost, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L22401, doi:10.1029/2009GL039225.
Warming temperatures in the Arctic and sub-arctic are lowering the permafrost table and activating shallow groundwater systems, causing increasing baseflow discharge of Arctic rivers. This paper shows how the groundwater flow conditions adjust to lowering permafrost over decades to centuries and suggests that even if air temperatures are stabilized, baseflow discharge will continue to increase for a long time.

Soulsby, Tetzlaff, and Hrachowitz. Tracers and transit times: Windows for viewing catchment scale storage. Hydrological Processes. 23(24): 3503 – 3507. doi: 10.1002/hyp.7501
In this installment of Hydrological Processes series of excellent invited commentaries, Soulsby and colleagues remind readers that although flux measurements have been the major focus of hydrologic science for decades, it is storage that is most relevant for applied water resources problems. They show that tracer-derived estimates of mean transit time combined with streamflow measurements can be used to calculate the amount of water stored in the watershed. They use their long-term study watersheds in the Scottish Highlands to illustrate how transit time and storage scale together and correlate with climate, physiography, and soils in the watersheds. Finally, they argue that while such tracer-derived storage estimates have uncertainties and are not a panacea, they do show promise across a range of scales and geographies.

Chatanantavet, P., and G. Parker (2009), Physically based modeling of bedrock incision by abrasion, plucking, and macroabrasion, J. Geophys. Res., 114, F04018, doi:10.1029/2008JF001044.
Over the past 2 decades, geomorphologists have developed much better insight into the landscape evolution of mountainous areas by developing computerized landscape evolution models. A key component of such models is the stream power rule for bedrock incision, but some have complained that is not physically based enough to describe. In this paper, the authors lay out a new model for bedrock incision based on the mechanisms of abrasion, plucking, and macroabrasion (fracturing and removal of rock by the impact of moving sediment) and incorporating the hydrology and hydraulics of mountain rivers. This could be an influential paper.

Payn, R. A., M. N. Gooseff, B. L. McGlynn, K. E. Bencala, and S. M. Wondzell (2009), Channel water balance and exchange with subsurface flow along a mountain headwater stream in Montana, United States, Water Resour. Res., 45, W11427, doi:10.1029/2008WR007644.

Tracer tests were conducted along 13 continuous reaches of a mountain stream to quantify gross change in discharge versus net loss and net gain. Interestingly, the change in discharge over some reaches did not correspond to calculations of net loss or net gain based on tracer recovery. These results suggests that commonly used methods for estimating exchange with subsurface flow may not be representing all fluxes. Bidirectional exchange with the subsurface, like that found in this paper, is likely to be very important for nutrient processing and benthic ecology.

Please note that I can’t read the full article of AGU publications (including WRR, JGR, and GRL) until July 2010 or the print issue arrives in my institution’s library. Summaries of those articles are based on the abstract only.

My picks of the September literature

Haggerty, Roy; Martí, Eugènia; Argerich, Alba; von Schiller, Daniel; Grimm, Nancy B. 2009. Resazurin as a “smart” tracer for quantifying metabolically active transient storage in stream ecosystems J. Geophys. Res., Vol. 114, No. G3, G03014
(Roy will be talking about this work in our session at the GSA Annual Meeting next month.)

Harman, C. J.; Sivapalan, M.; Kumar, P. 2009. Power law catchment-scale recessions arising from heterogeneous linear small-scale dynamics Water Resour. Res., Vol. 45, No. 9, W09404
(Ooh, this sounds really cool. I’ve been interested in heterogeneity in watersheds for a while, and this looks like an interesting take on the topic.)

Moussa, Roger 2009. Definition of new equivalent indices of Horton-Strahler ratios for the derivation of the Geomorphological Instantaneous Unit Hydrograph Water Resour. Res., Vol. 45, No. 9, W09406

Philip Brunner, Craig T. Simmons, Peter G. Cook
Spatial and temporal aspects of the transition from connection to disconnection between rivers, lakes and groundwater
Journal of Hydrology, 376: 159-169

Astrid Lambrecht, Christoph Mayer, 2009, Temporal variability of the non-steady contribution from glaciers to water discharge in western Austria, Journal of Hydrology, 376: 353-361.
(Relevant to my Mt. Hood work.)

I. P. Holman, M. Rivas-Casado, N. J. K. Howden, J. P. Bloomfield, A. T. Williams. 2009. Linking North Atlantic ocean-atmosphere teleconnection patterns and hydrogeological responses in temperate groundwater systems. Hydrologic Processes. 23(21): 3123-3126.
(The invited commentaries (like this one) in HydroPro are almost always worth a read to see what leading hydrologic thinkers are thinking about.)

Tiwari, V. M.; Wahr, J.; Swenson, S. 2009. Dwindling groundwater resources in northern India, from satellite gravity observations Geophys. Res. Lett., Vol. 36, No. 18, L18401
(This is at least the third paper I’ve seen on this topic in the past month. It is big big news.)

GSA Abstract: On a template set by basalt flows, hydrology and erosional topography coevolve in the Oregon Cascade Range

The Watershed Hydrogeology Lab is going to be busy at this year’s Geological Society of America annual meeting in Portland, Oregon in October. We’ve submitted four abstracts for the meeting, I am co-convening a session, and I’ll be helping lead a pre-meeting field trip.

I’ll be an invited speaker in a session on “Hydrologic Characterization and Simulation of Neogene Volcanic Terranes (T27)” and here’s my abstract:

On a template set by basalt flows, hydrology and erosional topography coevolve in the Oregon Cascade Range

Anne Jefferson

Young basalt terrains offer an exceptional opportunity to understand landscape and hydrologic evolution over time, since the age of landscape construction can be determined by dating lava flows. I use a chronosequence of watersheds in the Oregon Cascade Range to examine how topography and hydrology change over time in basalt landscapes. Western slopes of the Oregon Cascade Range are formed from lava flows ranging from Holocene to Eocene in age, with watersheds of all ages have similar climate, vegetation and relief. Abundant precipitation (2.0 to 3.5 m/yr) falls on this landscape, and young basalts are highly permeable, so Holocene and late Pleistocene lavas host large groundwater systems. Groundwater flowpaths dictated by lava geometry transmit most recharge to large springs. Spring hydrographs have low peak flows and slow recessions during dry summers, and springs and groundwater-fed streams show little evidence of geomorphically effective incision. In the Cascades, drainage density increases linearly with time, accompanied by progressive hillslope steepening and valley incision. In watersheds >1 Ma, springs are absent and well-developed drainage networks fed by shallow subsurface flow produce flashy hydrographs with rapid summer recessions. A combination of mechanical, chemical, and biological processes acting within and on top of lava flows may reduce permeability over time, forcing flowpaths closer to the land surface. These shallow flowpaths produce flashy hydrographs with peakflows capable of sediment transport and landscape dissection. From these observations, I infer that the geomorphic evolution of basalt landscapes is dependent on their evolution from deep to shallow flowpaths.

People just keep publishing interesting stuff.

Fiorillo, F. 2009. Spring hydrographs as indicators of droughts in a karst environment. Journal of Hydrology 373: 290-301.

Rosenberry, D.O. and J. Pitlick. 2009. Effects of sediment transport and seepage direction on hydraulic properties at the sediment–water interface of hyporheic settings. Journal of Hydrology 373: 377-391.

Gresswell, R. et al. 2009. The design and application of an inexpensive pressure monitoring system for shallow water level measurement, tensiometry and piezometry. Journal of Hydrology 373: 416-425.

Fryar, A.E. 2009. Springs and the Origin of Bourbon [Historical Note], Ground Water, 47(4): 605-610.

Cardenas, M. Bayani. 2009. Stream-aquifer interactions and hyporheic exchange in gaining and losing sinuous streams Water Resour. Res., Vol. 45, No. 6, W06429

Selker, John; Ferre, Ty P. A. 2009. The ah ha moment of measurement: Introduction to the special section on Hydrologic Measurement Methods Water Resour. Res., Vol. 45, No. null, W00D00

Hodgkins, Glenn A. 2009. Streamflow changes in Alaska between the cool phase (1947-1976) and the warm phase (1977-2006) of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation: The influence of glaciers Water Resour. Res., Vol. 45, No. 6, W06502

Matott, L. Shawn; Babendreier, Justin E.; Purucker, S. Thomas Evaluating uncertainty in integrated environmental models: A review of concepts and tools Water Resour. Res., Vol. 45, No. 6, W06421

Orr, Cailin H.; Clark, Jeffery J.; Wilcock, Peter R.; Finlay, Jacques C.; Doyle, Martin W. Comparison of morphological and biological control of exchange with transient storage zones in a field-scale flume J. Geophys. Res., Vol. 114, No. G2, G02019

Katsuyama, Masanori; Kabeya, Naoki; Ohte, Nobuhito Elucidation of the relationship between geographic and time sources of stream water using a tracer approach in a headwater catchment Water Resour. Res., Vol. 45, No. 6, W06414

Phillips, J.D. 2009. Landscape evolution space and the relative importance of geomorphic processes and controls. Geomorphology, 109:79-85.

And last but not least:

Pretty much all of: Hydrological Processes, Special Issue: Hyporheic Hydrology: Interactions at the Groundwater-Surface Water Interface. Issue Edited by Stefan Krause, David M. Hannah, Jan H. Fleckenstein. Volume 23, Issue 15, 2009.

Most especially this article:
Boano, F., Revelli, R., and Ridolfi, L. 2009. Quantifying the impact of groundwater discharge on the surface-subsurface exchange, Hydrological Processes, 23(15): 2108-2116.

More new papers I'm itching to read

Godsey, S.E., J.W. Kirchner, and D.W. Clow, 2009. Concentration-discharge relationships reflect chemostatic characteristics of US catchments, Hydrological Processes 23 (13): 1844-1864.

Tetzlaff, D., J. Seibert, and C. Soulsby. 2009. Inter-catchment comparison to assess the influence of topography and soils on catchment transit times in a geomorphic province; the Cairngorm mountains, Scotland. Hydrological Processes 23 (13): 1874-1886.

Lyon, S.W., S.L.E. Desilets, and P.A. Troch. 2009. A tale of two isotopes: differences in hydrograph separation for a runoff event when using delta-D versus delta-18O. Hydrological Processes 23 (14): 2095-2101.

Bloomfield, J.P., D.J. Allen, and K.J. Griffiths. 2009. Examining geological controls on baseflow index (BFI) using regression analysis: An illustration from the Thames Basin, UK, Journal of Hydrology, 373: 164-176.

Pascal Goderniaux, Serge Brouyère, Hayley J. Fowler, Stephen Blenkinsop, René Therrien, Philippe Orban, Alain Dassargues. 2009. Large scale surface–subsurface hydrological model to assess climate change impacts on groundwater reserves, Journal of Hydrology, 373: 122-138

On the top of my "to read" list

Every week there’s a virtual flood of enticing looking papers from the tables of contents that arrive in my in-box. Here are the ones that look most enticing to me this week:

Jencso, K. G., B. L. McGlynn, M. N. Gooseff, S. M. Wondzell, K. E. Bencala, and L. A. Marshall (2009), Hydrologic connectivity between landscapes and streams: Transferring reach? and plot?scale understanding to the catchment scale, Water Resour. Res., 45, W04428, doi:10.1029/2008WR007225.

Hrachowitz, M., C. Soulsby, D. Tetzlaff, J. J. C. Dawson, and I. A. Malcolm (2009), Regionalization of transit time estimates in montane catchments by integrating landscape controls, Water Resour. Res., 45, W05421, doi:10.1029/2008WR007496.

Navarre-Sitchler, A., C. I. Steefel, L. Yang, L. Tomutsa, and S. L. Brantley (2009), Evolution of porosity and diffusivity associated with chemical weathering of a basalt clast, J. Geophys. Res., 114, F02016, doi:10.1029/2008JF001060.

Foulquier, A., F. Malard, S. Barraud, and J. Gibert. 2009. Thermal influence of urban groundwater recharge from stormwater infiltration basins. Hydrological Processes. 23(12): 1701-1713. doi: 10.1002/hyp.7305

Tague, C.L. 2009. Assessing climate change impacts on alpine stream-flow and vegetation water use: mining the linkages with subsurface hydrologic processes. Hydrological Processes. 23(12): 1815-1819. doi:10.1002/hyp.7288

Schenk, E.R. and C.R. Hupp. 2009 Legacy Effects of Colonial Millponds on Floodplain Sedimentation, Bank Erosion, and Channel Morphology, Mid-Atlantic, USA. Journal of the American Water Resources Association. 45(3):597-606. doi:10.1111/j.1752-1688.2009.00308.x

Jacob, J.S. and R. Lopez. 2009 Is Denser Greener? An Evaluation of Higher Density Development as an Urban Stormwater-Quality Best Management Practice. Journal of the American Water Resources Association. 45(3):687-701. doi:10.1111/j.1752-1688.2009.00316.x

Fraley, L.M., A.J. Miller, and C. Welty. 2009. Contribution of In-Channel Processes to Sediment Yield of an Urbanizing Watershed. Journal of the American Water Resources Association. 45(3):748-766. doi:10.1111/j.1752-1688.2009.00320.x

Some of these papers will be useful for my teaching (Fraley et al. and Schenk and Hupp), one will be useful in revising a paper from my Ph.D. research (Navarre-Sitchler et al.), and the rest are of general research for on-going projects or projects in the design stage. I hope they give you a flavor of the sort of things that set spinning the research gears in my mind.