Articles | Volume 13, issue 12
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 13, 2287–2297, 2009
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-13-2287-2009
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 13, 2287–2297, 2009
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-13-2287-2009

  02 Dec 2009

02 Dec 2009

Linking soil- and stream-water chemistry based on a Riparian Flow-Concentration Integration Model

J. Seibert1,2, T. Grabs2, S. Köhler3, H. Laudon4, M. Winterdahl3, and K. Bishop3 J. Seibert et al.
  • 1Department of Geography, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstr. 190, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
  • 3Department of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), P.O. Box 7050, 750 07 Uppsala, Sweden
  • 4Department of Forest Ecology and Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Umeå, Sweden

Abstract. The riparian zone, the last few metres of soil through which water flows before entering a gaining stream, has been identified as a first order control on key aspects of stream water chemistry dynamics. We propose that the distribution of lateral flow of water across the vertical profile of soil water chemistry in the riparian zone provides a conceptual explanation of how this control functions in catchments where matrix flow predominates. This paper presents a mathematical implementation of this concept as well as the model assumptions. We also present an analytical solution, which provides a physical basis for the commonly used power-law flow-load equation. This approach quantifies the concept of riparian control on stream-water chemistry providing a basis for testing the concept of riparian control. By backward calculation of soil-water-chemistry profiles, and comparing those with observed profiles we demonstrate that the simple juxtaposition of the vertical profiles of water flux and soil water chemistry provides a plausible explanation for observed variations in stream water chemistry of several major stream components such as Total Organic Carbon (TOC), magnesium, calcium and chloride. The "static" implementation of the model structure presented here provides a basis for further development to account for seasonal influences and hydrological hysteresis in the representation of hyporheic, riparian, and hillslope processes.