Articles | Volume 27, issue 12
Research article
22 Jun 2023
Research article |  | 22 Jun 2023

Towards a conceptualization of the hydrological processes behind changes of young water fraction with elevation: a focus on mountainous alpine catchments

Alessio Gentile, Davide Canone, Natalie Ceperley, Davide Gisolo, Maurizio Previati, Giulia Zuecco, Bettina Schaefli, and Stefano Ferraris

Data sets

The CH-IRP data set: fortnightly data of δ2H and δ18O in streamflow and precipitation in Switzerland (Version 2) M. Staudinger, S. Seeger, B. Herbstritt, M. Stoelzle, J. Seibert, K. Stahl, and M. Weiler

Short summary
What drives young water fraction, F*yw (i.e., the fraction of water in streamflow younger than 2–3 months), variations with elevation? Why is F*yw counterintuitively low in high-elevation catchments, in spite of steeper topography? In this paper, we present a perceptual model explaining how the longer low-flow duration at high elevations, driven by the persistence of winter snowpacks, increases the proportion of stored (old) water contributing to the stream, thus reducing F*yw.