Promising new baseflow separation and recession analysis methods applied to streamflow at Glendhu Catchment, New Zealand
- Aquifer Dynamics & GNS Science, P.O. Box 30368, 5040 Lower Hutt, New Zealand
Abstract. Understanding and modelling the relationship between rainfall and runoff has been a driving force in hydrology for many years. Baseflow separation and recession analysis have been two of the main tools for understanding runoff generation in catchments, but there are many different methods for each. The new baseflow separation method presented here (the bump and rise method or BRM) aims to accurately simulate the shape of tracer-determined baseflow or pre-event water. Application of the method by calibrating its parameters, using (a) tracer data or (b) an optimising method, is demonstrated for the Glendhu Catchment, New Zealand. The calibrated BRM algorithm is then applied to the Glendhu streamflow record. The new recession approach advances the thesis that recession analysis of streamflow alone gives misleading information on catchment storage reservoirs because streamflow is a varying mixture of components of very different origins and characteristics (at the simplest level, quickflow and baseflow as identified by the BRM method). Recession analyses of quickflow, baseflow and streamflow show that the steep power-law slopes often observed for streamflow at intermediate flows are artefacts due to mixing and are not representative of catchment reservoirs. Applying baseflow separation before recession analysis could therefore shed new light on water storage reservoirs in catchments and possibly resolve some current problems with recession analysis. Among other things it shows that both quickflow and baseflow reservoirs in the studied catchment have (non-linear) quadratic characteristics.