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Soil frost effects on streamflow recessions in a subarctic catchment
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1137-648X
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Number of Authors: 52019 (English)In: Hydrological Processes, ISSN 0885-6087, E-ISSN 1099-1085, Vol. 33, no 9, p. 1304-1316Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The Arctic is warming rapidly. Changing seasonal freezing and thawing cycles of the soil are expected to affect river run-off substantially, but how soil frost influences river run-off at catchment scales is still largely unknown. We hypothesize that soil frost alters flow paths and therefore affects storage-discharge relations in subarctic catchments. To test this hypothesis, we used an approach that combines meteorological records and recession analysis. We studied streamflow data (1986-2015) of Abiskojokka, a river that drains a mountainous catchment (560 km(2)) in the north of Sweden (68 degrees latitude). Recessions were separated into frost periods (spring) and nofrost periods (summer) and then compared. We observed a significant difference between recessions of the two periods: During spring, discharge was linearly related to storage, whereas storage-discharge relationships in summer were less linear. An analysis of explanatory factors showed that after winters with cold soil temperatures and low snowpack, storage-discharge relations approached linearity. On the other hand, relatively warm winter soil conditions resulted in storage-discharge relationships that were less linear. Even in summer, relatively cold antecedent winter soils and low snowpack levels had a propagating effect on streamflow. This could be an indication that soil frost controls recharge of deep groundwater flow paths, which affects storage-discharge relationships in summer. We interpret these findings as evidence for soil frost to have an important control over river run-off dynamics. To our knowledge, this is the first study showing significant catchment-integrated effects of soil frost on this spatiotemporal scale.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 33, no 9, p. 1304-1316
Keywords [en]
Arctic, hydrology, permafrost, recession analysis, snowmelt, soil frost, thawing, warming
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-171186DOI: 10.1002/hyp.13401ISI: 000473256700002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-171186DiVA, id: diva2:1339899
Available from: 2019-07-31 Created: 2019-07-31 Last updated: 2019-12-09Bibliographically approved

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