Seasonal changes in runoff generation in a small forested mountain catchment

D. Penna, H.J. van Meerveld, O. Oliviero, G. Zuecco, R.S. Assendelft, G. Dalla Fontana, M. Borga

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    This study aimed to investigate the seasonal variability of runoff generation processes, the sources of stream water, and the controls on the contribution of event water to streamflow for a small forested catchment in the Italian pre-Alps. Hydrometric, isotopic, and electrical conductivity data collected between August 2012 and August 2013 revealed a marked seasonal variability in runoff responses. Noticeable differences in runoff coefficients and hydrological dynamics between summer and fall/spring rainfall events were related to antecedent moisture conditions and event size. Two-component and three-component hydrograph separation and end-member mixing analysis showed an increase in event water contributions to streamflow with event size and average rainfall intensity. Event water fractions were larger during dry conditions in the summer, suggesting that stormflow generation in the summer consisted predominantly of direct channel precipitation and some saturated overland flow from the riparian zone. On the contrary, groundwater and hillslope soil water contributions dominated the streamflow response during wet conditions in fall. Seasonal differences were also noted between event water fractions computed based on isotopic and electrical conductivity data, likely because of the dilution effect during the wetter months.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalHydrological Processes
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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