Results of the storm transient study showing maximum depth of the hyporheic zone with a groundwater response that is 14 h out-of-phase with the surface water response. The sine wave to the left of the y axis illustrates the changing preevent conditions controlled by the time of year from the 0.7 m groundwater amplitude scenario. The graphs below the x axis illustrate the surface water and groundwater responses during the simulation.
The volume of the water stored in and exchanged with the hyporheic zone is an important factor in stream metabolism and biogeochemical cycling. Previous studies have identified groundwater direction and magnitude as one key control on the volume of the hyporheic zone, suggesting that fluctuation in the riparian water table could induce large changes under certain seasonal conditions. In this study, we analyze the transient drivers that control the volume of the hyporheic zone by coupling the Brinkman-Darcy equation to the Navier-Stokes equations to simulate annual and storm induced groundwater fluctuations. The expansion and contraction of the hyporheic zone was quantified based on temporally dynamic scenarios simulating annual groundwater fluctuations in a humid temperate climate. The amplitude of the groundwater signal was varied between scenarios to represent a range of annual hydrologic forcing. Storm scenarios were then superimposed on the annual scenario to simulate the response to short-term storm signals.
Simulations used two different groundwater storm responses; one in-phase with the surface water response and one 14 h out-of-phase with the surface water response to represent our observed site conditions. Results show that annual groundwater fluctuation is a dominant control on the volume of the hyporheic zone, where increasing groundwater fluctuation increases the amount of annual variation. Storm responses depended on the antecedent conditions determined by annual scenarios, where the time of year dictated the duration and magnitude of the storm induced response of the hyporheic zone.
Malzone, J.M., Lowry, C.S., and Ward, A.S. (2016): Response of the hyporheic zone to transient groundwater fluctuations on the annual and storm event time scales. Water Resources Research. DOI: 10.1002/2015WR018056