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Dynamic of surface saturation in the riparian zone- experimental investigation and modelling

Barbara Glaser1, Luisa Hopp1, Laurent Pfister2
1 Department of Hydrology, University of Bayreuth
2 Department Environnement et Agro-biotechnologies, Centre de Recherche Public - Gabriel Lippmann

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Water saturated areas can be active contributing source areas if they are hydraulically connected to the stream. Their prediction is relevant for flood prediction and, as the concept of critical source areas connects contributing source areas with pollutant sources (e.g. chemical hot spots, sediment source areas), for water quality management. Over the last decades, many studies investigated patterns of water saturated surface areas in small catchments and riparian zones. But mostly due to observation limitations, only few studies exist, that analyze spatial and temporal dynamics of these areas and their connectivity.

In our study, we analyze this spatial and temporal dynamic in the hillslope-riparian-stream system of the headwater catchment of the Weierbach in western Luxembourg. We use a hand-held thermal infrared (TIR) camera as a new measurement technique for identifying surface saturation. In contrast to other techniques like the ‘boot method’, it allows field observations with a high temporal resolution. During two winter storm events photos were taken every 15 minutes and about 20 panorama snapshots were taken through the year. In addition, we implemented a physically based 3D model of the study site and use the TIR as additional validation data. The model shows the importance of the dynamic of contributing areas to discharge generation and is planned to be used for virtual experiments to identify controlling factors for the dynamic of surface saturation.

last modified 2014-09-09