Articles | Volume 27, issue 12
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-27-2301-2023
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-27-2301-2023
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

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Latest update: 28 Feb 2024
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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.