Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2021-357
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2021-357

  19 Jul 2021

19 Jul 2021

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

Event controls on intermittent streamflow in a temperate climate

Nils Hinrich Kaplan1, Theresa Blume2, and Markus Weiler1 Nils Hinrich Kaplan et al.
  • 1Hydrology, Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources, University of Freiburg, 79098 Freiburg, Germany
  • 2Hydrology, Helmholtz Centre Potsdam, GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, 14473 Potsdam, Germany

Abstract. Intermittent streams represent a substantial part of the worldwide stream network and their occurrence is expected to increase due to climate change. Thus, it is of high relevance to provide detailed information of the temporal and spatial controls of streamflow intermittency to support management decisions. This study presents an event-based analysis of streamflow responses in intermittent streams in a meso-scale catchment with temperate climate. According to the streamflow responses, events were classified into flow or no-flow classes. Response controls like precipitation, soil moisture, and temperature were used as predictors in a random forest model to identify temporal controls of streamflow intermittency at the event-scale. Soil moisture was revealed as the most important predictor in the catchment. However, different patterns of predictor importance were found among the three dominant geologies in the catchment. Streamflow responses in the slate geology were controlled by soil moisture in the shallow and deep soil layers, while streamflow in the marl geology was primarily controlled by the soil moisture in the upper soil layer. Streamflow responses in catchments covering both marls and sandstone were dependent on soil moisture whereas streamflow in the only catchment with pure sandstone geology depended on precipitation characteristics. In both the slate and marl geology, streamflow intermittency also showed a relationship with seasonal fluctuations of soil temperature, probably as a proxy-variable of seasonal changes in evapotranspiration as well as an indicator of freezing conditions.

Nils Hinrich Kaplan et al.

Status: open (until 13 Sep 2021)

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Nils Hinrich Kaplan et al.

Nils Hinrich Kaplan et al.

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Short summary
In this study is analysed how characteristics of precipitation events as well as soil moisture and temperature dynamics during these events can be used to model the associated streamflow responses in intermittent streams. The models are used to identify differences between the dominant controls of streamflow intermittency in three distinct geologies of the Attert catchment, Luxembourg. Overall, soil moisture was found to be the most important control of intermittent streamflow in all geologies.