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An improved practical approach for estimating catchment-scale response functions through wavelet analysis
  • +13
  • Ravindra Dwivedi,
  • Chris Eastoe,
  • John Knowles,
  • Lejon Hamann,
  • Thomas Meixner,
  • P. “Ty” Ferré,
  • C. Castro,
  • W. Wright,
  • Guo-Yue Niu,
  • Rebecca Minor,
  • Greg Barron-Gafford,
  • N. Abramson,
  • B. Mitra,
  • Shirley Papuga,
  • M. Stanley,
  • Jon Chorover
Ravindra Dwivedi
The University of Arizona
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Chris Eastoe
University of Arizona
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John Knowles
USDA-ARS
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Lejon Hamann
United States Geological Survey
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Thomas Meixner
University of Arizona Tucson
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P. “Ty” Ferré
University of Arizona Tucson
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C. Castro
The University of Arizona
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W. Wright
The University of Arizona
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Guo-Yue Niu
University of Arizona Department of Hydrology and Water Resources
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Rebecca Minor
University of Arizona Tucson
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Greg Barron-Gafford
The University of Arizona
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N. Abramson
The University of Arizona
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B. Mitra
University of Arizona
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Shirley Papuga
Wayne State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
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M. Stanley
Mt. Lemmon Water District
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Jon Chorover
University of Arizona Tucson
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Abstract

Catchment-scale response functions, such as transit time distribution (TTD) and evapotranspiration time distribution (ETTD), are considered fundamental descriptors of a catchment’s hydrologic and ecohydrologic responses to spatially and temporally varying precipitation inputs. Yet, estimating these functions is challenging, especially in headwater catchments where data collection is complicated by rugged terrain, or in semi-arid or sub-humid areas where precipitation is infrequent. Hence, we developed practical approaches for estimating both TTD and ETTD from commonly available tracer flux data in hydrologic inflows and outflows without requiring continuous observations. Using the weighted wavelet spectral analysis method of Kirchner and Neal [2013] for δ18O in precipitation and stream water, we specifically calculated TTDs that contribute to streamflow via spatially and temporally variable flow paths in a sub-humid mountain headwater catchment in Arizona, USA. Our results indicate that composite TTDs most accurately represented this system for periods up to approximately one month and that a Gamma TTD was most appropriate thereafter. The TTD results also suggested that some contribution of subsurface water was beyond the applicable tracer range. For ETTD and using δ18O as a tracer in precipitation and xylem waters, a Gamma ETTD type best matched the observations, and stable water isotopes were capable tracers for the majority of vegetation source waters. This study contributes to a better understanding of a fundamental question in mountain catchment hydrology; namely, how tracer input fluxes are modulated by spatially and temporally varying subsurface flow paths that support evapotranspiration and streamflow at multiple time scales.

Peer review status:Published

31 Oct 2020Submitted to Hydrological Processes
31 Oct 2020Submission Checks Completed
31 Oct 2020Assigned to Editor
31 Oct 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
23 Dec 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
23 Dec 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Major
05 Feb 20211st Revision Received
05 Feb 2021Submission Checks Completed
05 Feb 2021Assigned to Editor
05 Feb 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
05 Feb 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
05 Feb 2021Editorial Decision: Accept
Mar 2021Published in Hydrological Processes volume 35 issue 3. 10.1002/hyp.14082