Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1029/2022WR032129
Licence creative commons licence
Title (Primary) Hydrologic turnover matters – gross gains and losses of six first‐order streams across contrasting landscapes and flow regimes
Author Jähkel, A. ORCID logo ; Graeber, D.; Fleckenstein, J.H.; Schmidt, C.
Source Titel Water Resources Research
Year 2022
Department ASAM; HDG
Volume 58
Issue 7
Page From e2022WR032129
Language englisch
Topic T5 Future Landscapes
Keywords gross gain and loss; hydrologic turnover; headwater streams; reach scale; losing streams; land use

Gross gains and losses of stream water and the consequent hydrologic turnover may modify the composition of stream water and drive in-stream ecological functioning. We evaluated over 500 breakthrough curves of conservative tracer additions to analyse the channel water balance resulting in gross gains and losses, net exchange, and hydrologic turnover. During the hydrological year 2019, seven tracer experiments have been carried out in six first-order streams along 400 m study reaches. All streams are located in the Holtemme catchment (Central Germany) with three each dominated by forested and agricultural land use.

Four of the six streams were characterized by net-losing conditions. The overall median of gross exchange was five times higher than net exchange. On average, subsurface gains replaced 50% of the original stream water over less than one kilometer of stream length. We even observed cases where over 95% of the stream water turned over within 100 m. Gross exchange was relatively higher in forested than in agricultural streams. Patterns of exchange in the forested streams persisted spatially and were temporally independent of streamflow, whereas in the agricultural ones, variable spatial patterns and streamflow dependence occurred. Overall, moderate flow coincided with highest relative gross exchange. Our results support previous findings that in-stream solute concentrations could heavily depend on location and magnitude of gains and losses. Gross exchange embodies a permanent but variable control of downstream solute concentrations interacting with the signal of biogeochemical activity. We highlight the importance to include reach-scale hydrological processes in studies on nutrient spiraling.

Persistent UFZ Identifier
Jähkel, A., Graeber, D., Fleckenstein, J.H., Schmidt, C. (2022):
Hydrologic turnover matters – gross gains and losses of six first‐order streams across contrasting landscapes and flow regimes
Water Resour. Res. 58 (7), e2022WR032129 10.1029/2022WR032129