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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EGUsphere, https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-1797,https://doi.org/10.5194/egusphere-2023-1797, 2023
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Cited articles

Aalstad, K., Westermann, S., and Bertino, L.: Evaluating satellite retrieved fractional snow-covered area at a high-Arctic site using terrestrial photography, Remote Sens. Environ., 239, 111618, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2019.111618, 2020. 
Andermann, C., Longuevergne, L., Bonnet, S., Crave, A., Davy, P., and Gloaguen, R.: Impact of transient groundwater storage on the discharge of Himalayan rivers, Nat. Geosci., 5, 127–132, https://doi.org/10.1038/ngeo1356, 2012. 
Arnoux, M., Brunner, P., Schaefli, B., Mott, R., Cochand, F., and Hunkeler, D.: Low-flow behavior of alpine catchments with varying quaternary cover under current and future climatic conditions, J. Hydrol., 592, 125591, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2020.125591, 2021. 
Baraer, M., McKenzie, J. M., Mark, B. G., Bury, J., and Knox, S.: Characterizing contributions of glacier melt and groundwater during the dry season in a poorly gauged catchment of the Cordillera Blanca (Peru), in: Advances in Geosciences, 4th EGU Alexander von Humboldt Conference “The Andes: Challenge for Geosciences” – 4th Alexander von Humboldt International Conference on The Andes: Challenge for Geosciences, 28 November 2008, Santiago de Chile, Chile, 41–49, https://doi.org/10.5194/adgeo-22-41-2009, 2009. 
Baraer, M., McKenzie, J., Mark, B. G., Gordon, R., Bury, J., Condom, T., Gomez, J., Knox, S., and Fortner, S. K.: Contribution of groundwater to the outflow from ungauged glacierized catchments: a multi-site study in the tropical Cordillera Blanca, Peru, Hydrol. Process., 29, 2561–2581, https://doi.org/10.1002/hyp.10386, 2015. 
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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.