Experiments in Advective and Turbulent Hyporheic Pumping
Abstract:Hyporheic exchange (HE) is the mixing of stream and subsurface waters beneath the sediment-water interface (SWI). At the patch and reach scales, HE is dominated by periodic upwelling and downwelling zones, induced by pressure variation and processes within the turbulent boundary layer (TBL). This can be caused by (1) the geometry of the stream, imposing a stationary wave at the SWI or (2) by a travelling wave associated with the propagation of turbulent pressure waves generated from the TBL. Case (1) has generally been the favoured model of hyporheic exchange and has been referred to as hyporheic ‘pumping’ by Elliott and Brooks, and subsequently others. Case (2) can be termed turbulent pumping, and has been proposed as a mechanism to model the combined effects of turbulent dispersion alongside steady-state advection. While this has been represented numerically and analytically, conjecture remains about the physical representation of these combined processes.
We present initial results from experiments undertaken to classify the spatial and temporal characteristics of pressure variation at and beneath the SWI, with a periodic sinusoidal geometry of wavelength 0.28m and height 0.02m. As an initial characterisation, the advective flow profile has been examined using time-lapse photography of dyes released across the span of a periodic downwelling zone. These tracer tests confirmed delineation of isolated upwelling and downwelling cells as noted by previous authors in modelling studies. However, their distribution deviates from the typical pumping pattern with increased discharge and stream gradient. Empirical orthogonal function (EOF) analysis of high frequency (250Hz) pressure measurements, sampled at an array along the centroid of the flume underneath one wavelength gave further insight into the spatial distribution of turbulent signatures arising from roughness-generated turbulence. A turbulent frequency of 6-10Hz dominates, however the penetration depth appears to be limited by the advective pumping induced by bedforms in conjunction with the stream gradient. Our results experimentally support the combined presence of advective and turbulent pumping interacting with the hydraulic stream gradient in driving exchange across the SWI.