24 Jun 2021

24 Jun 2021

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

Quantifying pluriannual hydrological memory with Catchment Forgetting Curves

Alban de Lavenne1,2, Vazken Andréassian2, Louise Crochemore1,3, Göran Lindström1, and Berit Arheimer1 Alban de Lavenne et al.
  • 1SMHI, Norrköping, Sweden
  • 2Université Paris-Saclay, INRAE, UR HYCAR, Antony, France
  • 3INRAE, UR RiverLy, Lyon, France

Abstract. This article presents a new approach to quantifying pluriannual hydrological memory, using exclusively streamflow and climate data. The rainfall--runoff relationship is analyzed through the concept of elasticity, focusing on the relation between the annual anomalies of runoff yield and humidity index. We identify Catchment Forgetting Curves (CFC) to quantify pluriannual catchment memory, considering not only the current year's humidity anomaly but also the anomalies of the preceding years. CFCs are parameterized using a Gamma distribution.

The variability of CFCs is investigated on a set of 158 Swedish and 527 French catchments. As expected, French catchments overlying powerful aquifers exhibit a long memory. In Sweden, the expected effect of the lakes is less clear. Overall, aridity appears to be one of the main drivers of catchment memory in both countries. Our work underlines the need to account for catchment memory in order to produce meaningful and geographically coherent elasticity indices.

Alban de Lavenne et al.

Status: open (extended)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • RC1: 'Comment on hess-2021-331', Anonymous Referee #1, 01 Jul 2021 reply
    • AC1: 'Reply on RC1', Alban de Lavenne, 26 Jul 2021 reply
  • CC1: 'Comment on hess-2021-331', Thomas Over, 26 Jul 2021 reply
    • AC2: 'Reply on CC1', Alban de Lavenne, 29 Jul 2021 reply

Alban de Lavenne et al.

Alban de Lavenne et al.


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Short summary
As a human being, a watershed remembers the past to some extent, and this memory influences its behaviour. This memory is defined by its ability to store past rainfall for several years. By releasing this water into the river or the atmosphere, it tends to forget. We describe how this memory fades over time in France and Sweden. A minority shows a multi-year memory. It increases with the influence of groundwater or dry conditions. After 3 or 4 years, they all behave independently of the past.