Soil Moisture Transit Times on a Steep Hillslope

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Sanghyun Kim, Eunse Jnag and Juyeon Jeong, Pusan National University, Busan, South Korea
Field monitoring of isotopes and isotope analyses have been used to approximate water travel time at hillslope scales. This paper introduces an alternate method for estimating a point-scaled transit time in a soil layer, namely hydrometric transit time (HTT). HTT uses hydrometric measurements to address both matrix flow and bypass flow. Soil matrix flux is approximated through integration of continuous soil moisture profiles and soil water computations. Free surface film modeling of unsaturated flow is used to estimate bypass flow. This flux and storage estimation scheme is applied to a steep hillslope using hydrometric measurements that were estimated over an 8-month period using a continuous daily approximation of soil moisture profiles. Transit times at several designated points are also evaluated using isotope analyses. Results show that rainfall strongly controls temporal fluctuations. This work highlights the potential role of HTT in revealing the spatial and seasonal variations in the transit time probability density function (PDF) along transects. Mean transit time does not sufficiently characterize transit time variations on a hillslope scale. Accumulated flux distributions identify distinct hydrologic contributions and efficient redistribution of soil water in the downslope area of the hillside.