Articles | Volume 25, issue 6
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 25, 3691–3711, 2021
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 25, 3691–3711, 2021

Research article 30 Jun 2021

Research article | 30 Jun 2021

Time lags of nitrate, chloride, and tritium in streams assessed by dynamic groundwater flow tracking in a lowland landscape

Vince P. Kaandorp et al.

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Cited articles

Ali, G., Birkel, C., Tetzlaff, D., Soulsby, C., McDonnell, J. J., and Tarolli, P.: A comparison of wetness indices for the prediction of observed connected saturated areas under contrasting conditions, Earth Surf. Proc. Land., 39, 399–413,, 2014. 
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Aquilina, L., Vergnaud-Ayraud, V., Labasque, T., Bour, O., Molénat, J., Ruiz, L., de Montety, V., De Ridder, J., Roques, C., and Longuevergne, L.: Nitrate dynamics in agricultural catchments deduced from groundwater dating and long-term nitrate monitoring in surface- and groundwaters, Sci. Total Environ., 435–436, 167–178,, 2012. 
Benettin, P., Rinaldo, A., and Botter, G.: Tracking residence times in hydrological systems: Forward and backward formulations, Hydrol. Process., 29, 5203–5213,, 2015. 
Benettin, P., Soulsby, C., Birkel, C., Tetzlaff, D., Botter, G., and Rinaldo, A.: Using SAS functions and high-resolution isotope data to unravel travel time distributions in headwater catchments, Water Resour. Res., 53, 1864–1878,, 2017. 
Short summary
We reconstructed historical and present-day tritium, chloride, and nitrate concentrations in stream water of a catchment using land-use-based input curves and calculated travel times of groundwater. Parameters such as the unsaturated zone thickness, mean travel time, and input patterns determine time lags between inputs and in-stream concentrations. The timescale of the breakthrough of pollutants in streams is dependent on the location of pollution in a catchment.