Comparison of discharge pulses in temperate and tropical rainforest headwater stream networks

TitleComparison of discharge pulses in temperate and tropical rainforest headwater stream networks
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsLininger, KB, Raimondi, J, Kramer, N, Homrighausen, D, Covich, A
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Volume579
Pagination124236
ISSN0022-1694
AbstractWe use sub-daily gage records from montane headwater channels in the Luquillo Experimental Forest of Puerto Rico (tropical rainforest) and the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest of Oregon (temperate rainforest) to characterize differences in discharge pulses (rapid, high-magnitude discharge fluctuations) and determine whether the characteristics of discharge pulses differ with respect to drainage area between these two regions. The study sites have different precipitation regimes and runoff generation mechanisms, and we quantify differences in discharge pulses between sites. The assessment of discharge pulses, which are defined as flows that are higher than one standard deviation above the historical mean flow at each site, represents a novel approach to characterizing flashy discharge events in headwater streams using high temporal resolution datasets. Our analyses indicate a clear difference between regions, with discharge in the Luquillo streams pulsing more frequently, for shorter periods of time, and at higher magnitudes than discharge in the Andrews streams. We also quantify how discharge pulses change with increasing drainage area at each of the sites. Differences in discharge pulse metrics with respect to drainage area include an increase in the number of pulses, an increase in the normalized magnitude of pulses, an increase in the standard deviation in normalized magnitude, and a decrease in kurtosis with increasing drainage area at the Luquillo site. These results indicate that there is no attenuation of discharge pulses with increasing drainage area at Luquillo. In contrast, there is a decrease in the normalized magnitude with increasing drainage area at the Andrews site, indicating some attenuation of discharge pulses with increasing drainage area. The characteristics of these pulsed events have implications for ecological processes by transporting sediment, biota, and organic matter, likely altering stream substrates, biotic communities, and organic matter retention times.
URLhttp://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022169419309710
DOI10.1016/j.jhydrol.2019.124236
miguelcleon