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How old is streamwater?: Open questions in catchment transit time conceptualization, modelling and analysis
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2010 (English)In: Hydrological Processes, ISSN 0885-6087, E-ISSN 1099-1085, Vol. 24, no 12, 1745-1754 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The time water spends travelling subsurface through a catchment to the stream network (i.e. the catchment water transit time) fundamentally describes the storage, flow pathway heterogeneity and sources of water in a catchment. The distribution of transit times reflects how catchments retain and release water and solutes that in turn set biogeochemical conditions and affect contamination release or persistence. Thus, quan- tifying the transit time distribution provides an important constraint on biogeochemical processes and catchment sensitivity to anthropogenic inputs, contamination and land-use change. Although the assumptions and limitations of past and present transit time modelling approaches have been recently reviewed (McGuire and McDonnell, 2006), there remain many fundamental research challenges for understanding how transit time can be used to quantify catchment flow processes and aid in the development and testing of rainfall–runoff models. In this Commen- tary study, we summarize what we think are the open research questions in transit time research. These thoughts come from a 3-day workshop in January 2009 at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. We attempt to lay out a roadmap for this work for the hydrological commu- nity over the next 10 years. We do this by first defining what we mean (qualitatively and quantitatively) by transit time and then organize our vision around needs in transit time theory, needs in field studies of tran- sit time and needs in rainfall – runoff modelling. Our goal in presenting this material is to encourage widespread use of transit time information in process studies to provide new insights to catchment function and to inform the structural development and testing of hydrologic models.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2010. Vol. 24, no 12, 1745-1754 p.
Keyword [en]
watershed
National Category
Geosciences, Multidisciplinary Geophysics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-58434DOI: 10.1002/hyp.7796ISI: 000279821800016Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-77149172751OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-58434DiVA: diva2:473052
Note
QC 20120120Available from: 2012-01-20 Created: 2012-01-05 Last updated: 2017-12-08Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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  • apa
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