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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Boise, Idaho » Northwest Watershed Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #174577

Title: A water balance approach to characterzing the hydroclimatology of a mountainous semi-arid catchment

item Chauvin, Gary
item Flerchinger, Gerald
item Marks, Daniel

Submitted to: American Geophysical Union
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/5/2004
Publication Date: 9/5/2004
Citation: Chauvin, G., Flerchinger, G., Marks, D., Link, T. 2004. A Water Balance Approach to Characterizing the Hydroclimatology of a Mountainous Semi-arid Catchment. (abstract C31A-0310 In: EOS Transactions Vol. 85, No. 47, Supplement. American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C. (CD-ROM)

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: A long-term water balance is needed to understand the hydrology of mountainous semi-arid catchments, which exhibit considerable interannual variability in precipitation and temperature as well as spatial variation in snow accumulation, soils, and vegetation. Long-term data sets reduce the uncertainty associated with estimating water balance quantities that are difficult to measure in practice. In this study, the data required to compute a long-term water balance are assembled from on-site and nearby locations to create a continuous 21-year hourly record of precipitation, meteorological parameters, and streamflow for the Upper Sheep Creek (USC) catchment, a 26 ha, snow-fed, semi-arid rangeland headwater drainage within the Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed in southwestern Idaho, USA. This study will allow us to extend a previous 10-year water balance (water years 1985-1994) computed for the USC catchment, enabling a more thorough consideration of climate variability including periods of drought and flood. It also sets the stage for analyzing the hydrologic response of the USC catchment to a prescribed fire planned for 2006. Statistical correlations between on-site and nearby meteorological stations were used to develop a complete 21-year hourly data set (water years 1984-2004) of climate and precipitation records. These data will be used to drive the Simultaneous Heat and Water (SHAW) model to simulate evaporation and transpiration, precipitation, storage, and stream discharge. Water balance quantities will be computed for separate landscape units and then aggregated for the overall watershed. This research will improve our ability to manage water resources in semi-arid mountain regions.