Submitted to: American Geophysical Union
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 20, 2004
Publication Date: December 13, 2004
Citation: Grant, L., Seyfried, M., Marks, D., and Winstral, A. 2004. Simulation of vegetation, soil characteristics, and topography effects on soil water distribution and streamflow timing over a semi-arid mountain catchment (abstract). American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting Supplement (CD-ROM) 85(47). Technical Abstract: Soil water (', m3m-3) and soil characteristics act as intermediaries, along with plants and climate, modifying and modulating streamflow timing and quantity—the majority in the intermountain US west resulting from spring-melt events of accumulated winter snow. The antecedent soil water conditions also predispose different patterns and dynamic responses. The context of soil water, analyzed using modeling, is necessary to describe the processes of soil water dynamics. In this research, two years of neutron probe soil water data were evaluated using a vertical flow, combined snowmelt-soil water, capacitance-parameter model with available snowmelt data and climate data as driving inputs. Model parameters were vegetation characteristics, soil properties, and climate. Results at the point scale show good fit at many locations while a few have poor simulation results at depth. The discrepancies are hypothesized to be due to lack of understanding of parameters such as rooting depth of trees; heterogeneity of parameters within the soil layers; using capacitance parameters that treat some variables as constants; exclusion of lateral flow processes that must occur in some locations due to basin geometry and nature of soil-fractured bedrock interface; and rising water table effects that can be seen in the gleying of clayey soils near drainage lines. Driving parameters were then distributed over the 0.36 km2 catchment using the regional 10 m DEM, soil maps, remotely sensed color-infrared imagery, and the spatiotemporal distributions of soil water from previous research. The model was run discretely at each pixel. Results matched point data simulations well. Simulated throughflow, totaled over the watershed, compared well with weir measured streamflow in timing and quantity indicating accurate representation of parameters over the watershed, proper calibration, and well described processes.