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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-488
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-488
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  28 Oct 2020

28 Oct 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Can the two-parameter recursive digital filter baseflow separation method really be calibrated by the conductivity mass balance method?

Weifei Yang1,2,3,4, Changlai Xiao1,2,3,4, Zhihao Zhang1,2,3,4, and Xiujuan Liang1,2,3,4 Weifei Yang et al.
  • 1Key Laboratory of Groundwater Resources and Environment (Ministry of Education), Jilin University, Changchun 130021, PR China
  • 2Jilin Provincial Key Laboratory of Water Resources and Environment, Jilin University, Changchun 130021, PR China
  • 3National-Local Joint Engineering Laboratory of In-situ Conversion, Drilling and Exploitation Technology for Oil Shale, Jilin University, Changchun 130021, PR China
  • 4College of New Energy and Environment, Jilin University, No. 2519, Jiefang Road, Changchun 130021, PR China

Abstract. The two-parameter recursive digital filter method (Eckhardt) and the conductivity mass balance method (CMB) are two widely-used baseflow separation methods favored by hydrologists. Some divergences in the application of these two methods have emerged in recent years. Some scholars believe that deviation of baseflow separation results of the two methods is due to uncertainty of the parameters of the Eckhardt method, and that the Eckhardt method should be corrected by reference to the CMB method. However, other scholars attribute the deviation to the fact that they contain different transient water components. This study aimed to resolve this disagreement by analyzing the effectiveness of the CMB method for correcting the Eckhardt method through application of the methods to 26 basins in the United States by comparison of the biases between the generated daily baseflow series. The results showed that the approach of calibrating the Eckhardt method against the CMB method provides a false calibration of total baseflow by offsetting the inherent biases in the baseflow sequences generated by the two methods. The reason for this phenomenon is that the baseflow sequence generated by the Eckhardt method usually includes slow interflow and bank storage return flow, whereas that of the CMB method usually includes high-salinity water flushed from swamps and depressions by rainfall, but not low-salinity interflow and bank storage return flow. Future studies can realize the multi-component separation of streamflow or identify the contribution of different transient water sources to streamflow by comparing the results of these two methods.

Weifei Yang et al.

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Short summary
This study analyzed the effectiveness of the CMB method for correcting the Eckhardt method. The results showed that the approach of calibrating the Eckhardt method against the CMB method provides a "false" calibration of total baseflow by offsetting the inherent biases in the baseflow sequences generated by the two methods. The reason for this phenomenon is that the baseflow series generated by the two methods containing different transient water sources.
This study analyzed the effectiveness of the CMB method for correcting the Eckhardt method. The...
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