Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
The master transit time distribution of variable flow systems
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
2012 (English)In: Water resources research, ISSN 0043-1397, E-ISSN 1944-7973, Vol. 48, W06520- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The transit time of water is an important indicator of catchment functioning and affects many biological and geochemical processes. Water entering a catchment at one point in time is composed of water molecules that will spend different amounts of time in the catchment before exiting. The next water input pulse can exhibit a totally different distribution of transit times. The distribution of water transit times is thus best characterized by a time-variable probability density function. It is often assumed, however, that the variability of the transit time distribution is negligible and that catchments can be characterized with a unique transit time distribution. In many cases this assumption is not valid because of variations in precipitation, evapotranspiration, and catchment water storage and associated (de) activation of dominant flow paths. This paper presents a general method to estimate the time-variable transit time distribution of catchment waters. Application of the method using several years of rainfall-runoff and stable water isotope data yields an ensemble of transit time distributions with different moments. The combined probability density function represents the master transit time distribution and characterizes the intra-annual and interannual variability of catchment storage and flow paths. Comparing the derived master transit time distributions of two research catchments (one humid and one semiarid) reveals differences in dominant hydrologic processes and dynamic water storage behavior, with the semiarid catchment generally reacting slower to precipitation events and containing a lower fraction of preevent water in the immediate hydrologic response.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 48, W06520- p.
National Category
Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-80008DOI: 10.1029/2011WR011293ISI: 000305353600002OAI: diva2:552545


Available from: 2012-09-14 Created: 2012-09-12 Last updated: 2012-09-14Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Lyon, Steve W.
By organisation
Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology
In the same journal
Water resources research
Environmental Sciences

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 1214 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link