How do watershed hydrologic processes differ in catchments derived from different lithology? This study compares two first order, deciduous forest watersheds in Pennsylvania, a sandstone watershed, Garner Run (GR, 1.34 km2), and a shale-derived watershed, Shale Hills (SH, 0.08 km2). Both watersheds are simulated using a combination of national datasets and field measurements, and a physics-based land surface hydrologic model, Flux-PIHM. We aim to evaluate the effects of lithology on watershed hydrology and assess if we can simulate a new watershed without intensive measurements, i.e., directly use calibration information from one watershed (SH) to reproduce hydrologic dynamics of another watershed (GR). Without any calibration, the model at GR based on national datasets and calibration inforamtion from SH cannot capture some discharge peaks or the baseflow during dry periods. The model prediction agrees well with the GR field discharge and soil moisture after calibrating the soil hydraulic parameters using the uncertainty based Hornberger-Spear-Young algorithm and the Latin Hypercube Sampling method. Agreeing with the field observation and national datasets, the difference in parameter values shows that the sandstone watershed has a larger averaged soil pore diameter, greater water storage created by porosity, lower water retention ability, and greater preferential flow. The water budget calculation shows that the riparian zone and the colluvial valley serves as buffer zones that stores water at GR. Using the same procedure, we compared Flux-PIHM simulations with and without a field measured surface boulder map at GR. When the boulder map is used, the prediction of areal averaged soil moisture is improved, without performing extra calibration. When calibrated separately, the cases with or without boulder map yield different calibration values, but their hydrologic predictions are similar, showing equifinality. The calibrated soil hydraulic parameter values in the with boulder map case is more physically plausible than the without boulder map case. We switched the topography and soil properties between GR and SH, and results indicate that the hydrologic processes are more sensitive to changes in domain topography than to changes in the soil properties.
Xiao, D., Shi, Y., Hoagland, B., Del Vecchio, J., Russo, T.A., DiBiase, R.A., Li, L. (2017): Understanding controls of hydrologic processes across two headwater monolithological catchments using model-data synthesis. 2017 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, New Orleans, LA, 11-15 Dec .
This Paper/Book acknowledges NSF CZO grant support.