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Landscape elements and river chemistry as affected by river regulation: a 3-D perspective
Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Applied Environmental Science (ITM).
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Geological Sciences.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Geological Sciences. (Marin geovetenskap)
2009 (English)In: Hydrology and Earth System Sciences, ISSN 1027-5606, E-ISSN 1607-7938, Vol. 13, no 9, 1597-1606 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We tested the hypothesis whether individual land classes within a river catchment contribute equally to river loading with dissolved constituents or whether some land classes act as “hot spots” to river loading and if so, are these land classes especially affected by hydrological 5 alterations. The amount of land covered by forests and wetlands and the average soil depth of a river catchment explain 58–93% of the variability in total organic carbon (TOC) and dissolved silicate (DSi) concentrations for 22 river catchments in Northern Sweden. Whereas only 3% of the headwater areas of the Luleälven have been inundated by the creation of reservoirs, some 10% of the soils and aggregated 10 forest and wetland areas have been lost due to damming and further hydrological alteration such as bypassing entire sub-catchments by headrace tunnels. However, looking at individual forest classes, our estimates indicate that some 37% of the deciduous forests have been inundated by the four major reservoirs built in the Luleälven headwaters.These deciduous forest and wetlands formerly growing on top of alluvial deposits 15 along the river corridors forming the riparian zone play a vital role in loading river water with dissolved constituents, especially DSi. A digital elevation model draped with land classes and soil depths which highlights that topography of various land classes acting as hot spots is critical in determining water residence time in soils and biogeochemical fluxes. Thus, headwater areas of the Luleälven appear to be most sensitive 20 to hydrological alterations due to the thin soil cover (on average 2.7–4.5m) and only patchy appearance of forest and wetlands that were significantly perturbed. Moreover, since these headwater areas are characterized often by high specific discharge, this relatively minor change in the landscape when compared to the entire river catchment may indeed explain the significant lower fluxes at the river mouth.

We tested the hypothesis whether individual land classes within a river catchment contribute equally to river loading with dissolved constituents or whether some land classes act as “hot spots” to river loading and if so, are these land classes especially affected by hydrological 5 alterations. The amount of land covered by forests and wetlands and the average soil depth of a river catchment explain 58–93% of the variability in total organic carbon (TOC) and dissolved silicate (DSi) concentrations for 22 river catchments in Northern Sweden. Whereas only 3% of the headwater areas of the Luleälven have been inundated by the creation of reservoirs, some 10% of the soils and aggregated10 forest and wetland areas have been lost due to damming and further hydrological alteration such as bypassing entire sub-catchments by headrace tunnels. However, looking at individual forest classes, our estimates indicate that some 37% of the deciduous forests have been inundated by the four major reservoirs built in the Luleälven headwaters.These deciduous forest and wetlands formerly growing on top of alluvial deposits 15 along the river corridors forming the riparian zone play a vital role in loading river water with dissolved constituents, especially DSi. A digital elevation model draped with land classes and soil depths which highlights that topography of various land classes acting as hot spots is critical in determining water residence time in soils and biogeochemicalfluxes. Thus, headwater areas of the Luleälven appear to be most sensitive 20 to hydrological alterations due to the thin soil cover (on average 2.7–4.5m) and only patchy appearance of forest and wetlands that were significantly perturbed. Moreover, since these headwater areas are characterized often by high specific discharge, this relatively minor change in the landscape when compared to the entire river catchment may indeed explain the significant lower fluxes at the river mouth.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 13, no 9, 1597-1606 p.
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Hydrology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-33695OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-33695DiVA: diva2:283395
Available from: 2009-12-24 Created: 2009-12-24 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved

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Smedberg, ErikHumborg, ChristophJakobsson, MartinMörth, Carl-Magnus
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Stockholm Resilience CentreDepartment of Applied Environmental Science (ITM)Department of Geological Sciences
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