Critical Zone Hydrology
The Reynolds Creek Critical Zone Observatory (RC CZO) is being established to address the grand challenge of improving prediction of soil carbon storage and the processes governing its fate at the plot to the landscape scale. The RC CZO will be co-located with the Reynolds Creek Experimental Watershed (RCEW) in southwest Idaho, which has been administered by the United State Department of Agriculture -Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) for over 50 years. The RCEW is particularly well suited for the CZO because of its strong gradients in climate, vegetation, and distributions of soil organic and inorganic carbon. The observatory will leverage existing scientific infrastructure that includes long-term, spatially extensive meteorological and soil monitoring.
This project fits into the CZO-Hydrology research themes.
Funding for this project is provided by NSF, EAR Division Of Earth Sciences
- Kathleen Lohse (Idaho State University, Principal Investigator)
- Nancy Glenn (Boise State University, Co-Principal Investigator)
- Shawn Benner (Boise State University, Co-Principal Investigator)
- Mark Seyfried (US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Services, Co-Principal Investigator)
- Alejandro Flores (Co-Principal Investigator)
- Chao Chen (Post-doc)
- Affected by various factors of climate, vegetation, geology, chemistry, geophysics, biology, etc., each basin is formed in its own unique way. Such uniqueness is not only its structural geomorphology, but also in its hydrologic properties. Understanding the connections between basin form and emergent hydrologic properties is important in many cross-disciplinary problems, from soil moisture assessment to ecological system evaluation.
- How this basin formation control the emergent hydrologic properties and what corresponding patterns and features we would expect/conclude from their relationship. Specifically, leveraging the importance of critical zone as a bridging role between the geomorphologic structure and hydrologic features in hydro-geophysical research, we focus on the CZ as a breaking point to look at the questions we have.
- With increased saprolite thickness, the streamflow shows different temporal patterns, such as streamflow curve shape and peak timing
- Landscape controls the non-linearity between the distributed soil-water holding capacity and the emergent hydrologic properties to storm events (P/soil storage).
- The higher variability of soil thickness (TMR) the slower subsurface saturation develops.
Tools, models, datasets:
- This research/projects employs the ParFlow, which is parallel-run integrated hydrologic model. It uses 3-D Richards equation to solve the heterogeneous subsurface flow, and it couples with CLM model to simulate the dynamic water interaction between surface hydrology and subsurface hydrology.
- Landlab is a python package, used to model earth surface processes. In this research, it is used to develop watersheds with different topography determined by two erosion mechanisms: fluvial-erosion dominated and diffusive-erosion dominated watershed.
Expected outcomes and deliverables:
Potential outcomes from this research/project include:
- Code for Landlab scripts of developing two synthetic watersheds
- Parflow models with varied saprolite thickness
- Parflow-CLM models with 7-day storm event
integrated hydrologic modeling, CZO, hydrogeomorphology, Parflow