BER launches Environmental System Science Program. Visit our new website under construction!

U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


Streamflow Partitioning and Transit Time Distribution in Snow-Dominated Basins as a Function of Climate
Published: January 30, 2019
Posted: August 10, 2020

January 30, 2019

The Science
Several models (PRMS-PEST-SAS) were coupled and applied to the snow-dominated East River Watershed to explore changes in water budgets and seasonal and annual responses in the streamflow transit time distributions.

The Impact
This research was the first to apply the coupled PRMS-PEST-SAS modeling system to a large-scale (85 km2) snow-dominated watershed. Results provide insight into how variation of the water budget and streamflow transit time are responding to climate change in this alpine snow-dominated system.

Summary
The modeling results show that during the snowmelt period of the year, the East River released younger water during high storage periods across seasonal and annual timescales (an “inverse storage effect”). However, wet years also appeared to increase hydrologic connectivity, which simultaneously flushed older water from the basin. During years with reduced snowpack, flow paths were inactivated and snowmelt remained in the subsurface to become older water that was potentially reactivated in subsequent wet years. Dry years were found more sensitive to warming temperatures than wet years through marked increases in the fraction of inflow lost to evapotranspiration at the expense of younger water to increase the mean age of streamflow.

Contacts
BER Program Manager
Paul Bayer
Department of Energy
Paul.bayer@science.doe.gov

Principal Investigator
Zhufeng Fang
Desert Research Institute
zhufeng.fang@dri.edu

Funding
Work was supported by the U.S. Geological Survey through the National Institute of Water Resources under Grant/Cooperative Agreement No. (G16AP00196), and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s WFSFA through the Office of Biological and Environmental Research, within the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science under contract DE-AC02-05CH11231.

Publication
Fang, Z., Carroll, R., Schumer, R., Harman, C., Wilusz, D., Williams, K. “Streamflow partitioning and transit time distribution in snow-dominated basins as a function of climate.” Journal of Hydrology 570, 726–38 (2019). [DOI:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2019.01.029].

Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Earth and Environmental Systems Modeling
  • Research Area: Subsurface Biogeochemical Research

Division: SC-33.1 Earth and Environmental Sciences Division, BER

 

BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Jan 11, 2022
No Honor Among Copper Thieves
Findings provide a novel means to manipulate methanotrophs for a variety of environmental and in [more...]

Dec 06, 2021
New Genome Editing Tools Can Edit Within Microbial Communities
Two new technologies allow scientists to edit specific species and genes within complex laborato [more...]

Oct 27, 2021
Fungal Recyclers: Fungi Reuse Fire-Altered Organic Matter
Degrading pyrogenic (fire-affected) organic matter is an important ecosystem function of fungi i [more...]

Oct 19, 2021
Microbes Offer a Glimpse into the Future of Climate Change
Scientists identify key features in microbes that predict how warming affects carbon dioxide emi [more...]

Aug 25, 2021
Assessing the Production Cost and Carbon Footprint of a Promising Aviation Biofuel
Biomass-derived DMCO has the potential to serve as a low-carbon, high-performance jet fuel blend [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)