Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2021-146
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2021-146

  01 Apr 2021

01 Apr 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Comment on “A comparison of catchment travel times and storage deduced from deuterium and tritium tracers using StorAge Selection functions” by Rodriguez et al. (2021)

Michael Kilgour Stewart1, Uwe Morgenstern2, and Ian Cartwright3 Michael Kilgour Stewart et al.
  • 1Aquifer Dynamics and GNS Science, PO Box 30 368, Lower Hutt 5040, New Zealand
  • 2GNS Science, PO Box 30 368, Lower Hutt 5040, New Zealand
  • 3School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment, Monash University, Clayton, Vic 3800, Australia

Abstract. The combined use of deuterium and tritium to determine travel time distributions (TTDs) in streams is an important development in catchment hydrology (Rodriguez et al, 2021). This comment takes issue with Rodriguez et al.'s general rejection of the truncation hypothesis, i.e. that the almost exclusive use of stable isotopes has truncated our vision of streamflow TTDs and caused us to miss the long tails of old water often shown by tritium. We discuss reasons why this hypothesis may not hold for the catchment described by Rodriguez et al. (2021), but could still apply to a large proportion of all catchments. We also discuss more generally future applications of tritium in northern and southern hemisphere catchments.

Michael Kilgour Stewart et al.

Status: open (until 02 Jun 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on hess-2021-146', Francesc Gallart, 03 May 2021 reply
  • CC1: 'Comment on hess-2021-146', Nicolas Rodriguez, 04 May 2021 reply
  • RC2: 'Comment on hess-2021-146', Anonymous Referee #2, 09 May 2021 reply

Michael Kilgour Stewart et al.

Michael Kilgour Stewart et al.

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Short summary
The combined use of deuterium and tritium to determine travel time distributions in streams is an important development in catchment hydrology (Rodriguez et al, 2021). This comment, however, argues that their results do not generally invalidate the truncation hypothesis of Stewart et al. (2010) (i.e. that stable isotopes underestimate travel times through catchments) as they imply, but asserts instead that the hypothesis still applies to many other catchments.