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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-229
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-229
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  01 Jul 2020

01 Jul 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Impact of karst areas on runoff generation, lateral flow and interbasin groundwater flow at the storm-event timescale

Martin Le Mesnil1,2, Roger Moussa1, Jean-Baptiste Charlier2, and Yvan Caballero2 Martin Le Mesnil et al.
  • 1LISAH, Univ. Montpellier, INRAE, IRD, Montpellier SupAgro, Montpellier, France
  • 2BRGM, Univ. Montpellier, Montpellier, France

Abstract. Karst development influences the hydrological response of catchments. However, such impact is poorly documented and even less quantified, especially over short space and time scales. The aim of this article is thus to define karst influence on the different hydrological processes driving runoff generation, including interbasin groundwater flow (IGF) for elementary catchments at the storm-event time scale. Three types of storm-event descriptors (characterising water balance, hydrograph shape and lateral exchanges) were calculated for the 20 most important storm events of 108 stations in three French regions (Cévennes Mountains, Jura Mountains and Normandy), representative of different karst settings. These descriptors were compared and analysed according to catchment geology (karst, non-karst, or mixed) in order to explore the specific impact of karst areas on water balance, hydrograph shape and lateral exchanges. A statistical approach showed that, despite the variations with study areas, karst promotes: i) Higher water infiltration from rivers during storm events; ii) Increased characteristic flood times and peak-flow attenuation; and iii) Lateral outflow. These influences are interpreted as mainly due to IGF loss that can be significant at the storm-event scale, representing around 50 % of discharge and 20 % of rainfall in the intermediate catchment. The spatial variability of such effects is also linked to contrasting lithology and karstification degree. Our work thus provides a generic framework for assessing karst impact on the hydrological response of catchments to storm events; moreover, it can analyse flood-event characteristics in various hydro-climatic settings, and can help testing the influence of other physiographic parameters on runoff generation.

Martin Le Mesnil et al.

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Martin Le Mesnil et al.

Martin Le Mesnil et al.

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Short summary
We present an innovative approach consisting in the statistical analysis and comparison of 15 hydrological descriptors, characterizing catchment response to rainfall events. The distribution of these descriptors is analysed according to the occurrence of karst areas inside 108 catchments. It shows that karst impacts on storm events mainly result in river losses, and that interbasin groundwater flows can represent a significant part of the catchment water budget ath the event time scale.
We present an innovative approach consisting in the statistical analysis and comparison of 15...
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