Field measurements are important to understand the fluxes of water, energy, sediment, and solute in the Critical Zone however are expensive in time, money, and labor. This study aims to assess the model predictability of hydrological processes in a watershed using information from another intensively-measured watershed. We compare two watersheds of different lithology using national datasets, field measurements, and physics-based model, Flux-PIHM. We focus on two monolithological, forested watersheds under the same climate in the Shale Hills Susquehanna CZO in central Pennsylvania: the Shale-based Shale Hills (SSH, 0.08 km2) and the sandstone-based Garner Run (GR, 1.34 km2). We firstly tested the transferability of calibration coefficients from SSH to GR. We found that without any calibration the model can successfully predict seasonal average soil moisture and discharge which shows the advantage of a physics-based model, however, cannot precisely capture some peaks or the runoff in summer. The model reproduces the GR field data better after calibrating the soil hydrology parameters. In particular, the percentage of sand turns out to be a critical parameter in reproducing data. With sandstone being the dominant lithology, GR has much higher sand percentage than SSH (48.02% vs. 29.01%), leading to higher hydraulic conductivity, lower overall water storage capacity, and in general lower soil moisture. This is consistent with area averaged soil moisture observations using the cosmic-ray soil moisture observing system (COSMOS) at the two sites. This work indicates that some parameters, including evapotranspiration parameters, are transferrable due to similar climatic and land cover conditions. However, the key parameters that control soil moisture, including the sand percentage, need to be recalibrated, reflecting the key role of soil hydrological properties.
Xiao, D., Shi, Y., and Li, L. (2016): Understanding controls of hydrologic processes across two monolithological catchments using model-data integration. 2016 Fall Meeting, American Geophysical Union, San Francisco, CA, 12-16 Dec..
This Paper/Book acknowledges NSF CZO grant support.