Are channels standalone? Analysis of channel to land interactions using a physically-based surface-subsurface processes model with multi-way exchanges

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Chaopeng Shen1, Kurt M Smithgall1 and William J Riley2, (1)Pennsylvania State University Main Campus, University Park, PA, United States, (2)Lawrence Berkeley Natl Lab, Berkeley, CA, United States
Large-scale land surface models commonly assumed that land-channel exchanges are unidirectional, in which the channel network receives runoff, baseflow, sediments, and other materials from land and conveys them to the outlet. The physiographic and geomorphological characteristics of channels, as well as flow conditions, exert no influence on simulated upland dynamics. In this work we study the feedbacks to upland hydrologic and ecosystem states and fluxes provided by channels. We employ a physically-based surface-subsurface processes model (PAWS+CLM) that fully resolves the multi-way interactions between channel flow, overland flow, groundwater, soil water and wetlands. We found notable influences of channels on land surface fluxes, which are explained by the baseflow mechanism and the efficient conveyance mechanism. We systematically quantify the extent of the impact and link channel characteristics to these impacts. Our results indicate that to further improve our understanding of the land-water system, the influence of channels need to be included in integrated models.