Hydrologic Storage and Partitioning across the CZO Network
Adam N. Wlostowski, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado at Boulder
The capacity of the critical zone to store and transmit water and water potential is central to many landscape functions in the short term, and to critical zone evolution over the long term. However, understanding the mechanisms linking critical zone architecture and water storage/transmission is often hampered by inadequate subsurface characterization. Consequently, despite a multitude of small catchment studies, we still lack a deep understanding of how variations between landscapes’ critical zone architecture lead to variations in hydrologic states and fluxes. As a way forward, this study characterizes the hydrologic dynamics of fifteen intensively studied catchments of the NSF’s Critical Zone Observatory (CZO) Network. The CZOs are collecting datasets that simultaneously characterize the physical, chemical, and biological architecture of the subsurface, while also monitoring common hydrologic fluxes such as streamflow, precipitation, and evapotranspiration. The goal of this work is to 1) synthesize hydrologic data from across the CZO network, providing a network-level quantitative summary of hydrologic storage and partitioning at each site, and 2) inspire testable hypotheses for how CZ architecture controls (and is controlled by) water storage and partitioning.