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Wienhöfer, Jan ; Germer, Kai ; Lindenmaier, Falk ; Färber, Arne ; Zehe, Erwin
Applied tracers for the observation of subsurface stormflow at the hillslope scale
Kurzfassung auf EnglischRain fall-runoff response in temperate humid headwater catchments is mainly controlled by hydrolo gical processes at the hillslope scale. Applied tracer experiments with fluore scent dye and salt tracers are well known tools in groundwater studies at the large scale and vadose zone studies at the plot scale, where they provide a means to characterise subsurface flow. We extend this approach to the hillslope scale to investigate saturated and unsaturated flow path s concertedly at a forested hill slope in the Austrian Alps. Dye staining experiments at the plot scale revealed that crack s and soil pipe s function as preferential flow path s in the fine-textured soils of the study area, and these preferenti al flow structures were active in fast subsurface transport of tracers at the hillslope scale. Breakthrough curves obtained under steady flow conditions could be fitted well to a one-dimensional convection-dispersion model. Under natural rain fall a positive correlation of tracer concentrations to the transient flows was observed. The results of this study demon strate qualitative and quantitative effects of preferential flow feature s on subsurface stormflow in a temperate humid headwater catchment. It turn s out that , at the hill slope scale, the interaction s of structures and processes are intrinsically complex, which implies that attempts to model such a hillslope satisfactorily require detailed investigation s of effective structures and parameters at the scale of interest.
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