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Gewählte Publikation:

Stockinger, MP; Bogena, HR; Lucke, A; Stumpp, C; Vereecken, H.
(2019): Time variability and uncertainty in the fraction of young water in a small headwater catchment
HYDROL EARTH SYST SC. 2019; 23(10): 4333-4347. FullText FullText_BOKU

The time precipitation needs to travel through a catchment to its outlet is an important descriptor of a catchment's susceptibility to pollutant contamination, nutrient loss, and hydrological functioning. The fast component of total water flow can be estimated by the fraction of young water (Fyw), which is the percentage of streamflow younger than 3 months. Fyw is calculated by comparing the amplitudes of sine waves fitted to seasonal precipitation and streamflow tracer signals. This is usually done for the complete tracer time series available, neglecting annual differences in the amplitudes of longer time series. Considering inter-annual amplitude differences, we employed a moving time window of 1 year in weekly time steps over a 4.5-year delta O-18 tracer time series to calculate 189 Fyw estimates and their uncertainty. They were then tested against the following null hypotheses: (1) at least 90 % of Fyw results do not deviate more than +/- 0.04 (4 %) from the mean of all Fyw results, indicating long-term invariance. Larger deviations would indicate changes in the relative contribution of different flow paths; (2) for any 4-week window, Fyw does not change more than +/- 0.04, indicating short-term invariance. Larger deviations would indicate a high sensitivity of Fyw to a 1-week to 4-week shift in the start of a 1-year sampling campaign; (3) the Fyw results of 1-year sampling campaigns started in a given calendar month do not change more than +/- 0.04, indicating seasonal invariance. In our study, all three null hypotheses were rejected. Thus, the Fyw results were time-variable, showed variability in the chosen sampling time, and had no pronounced seasonality. We furthermore found evidence that the 2015 European heat wave and including two winters into a 1-year sampling campaign increased the uncertainty of Fyw. Based on an increase in Fyw uncertainty when the mean adjusted R-2 was below 0.2, we recommend further investigations into the dependence of Fyw and its uncertainty to goodness-of-fit measures. Furthermore, while investigated individual meteorological factors did not sufficiently explain variations of Fyw, the runoff coefficient showed a moderate negative correlation of r = -0.50 with Fyw. The results of this study suggest that care must be taken when comparing Fyw of catchments that were based on different calculation periods and that the influence of extreme events and snow must be considered.
Autor/innen der BOKU Wien:
Stockinger Michael
Stumpp Christine
BOKU Gendermonitor:

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