Journal article

Transport of fluorobenzoate tracers in a vegetated hydrologic control volume: 2. Theoretical inferences and modeling

A theoretical analysis of transport in a controlled hydrologic volume, inclusive of two willow trees and forced by erratic water inputs, is carried out contrasting the experimental data described in a companion paper. The data refer to the hydrologic transport in a large lysimeter of different fluorobenzoic acids seen as tracers. Export of solute is modeled through a recently developed framework which accounts for nonstationary travel time distributions where we parameterize how output fluxes (namely, discharge and evapotranspiration) sample the available water ages in storage. The relevance of this work lies in the study of hydrologic drivers of the nonstationary character of residence and travel time distributions, whose definition and computation shape this theoretical transport study. Our results show that a large fraction of the different behaviors exhibited by the tracers may be charged to the variability of the hydrologic forcings experienced after the injection. Moreover, the results highlight the crucial, and often overlooked, role of evapotranspiration and plant uptake in determining the transport of water and solutes. This application also suggests that the ways evapotranspiration selects water with different ages in storage can be inferred through model calibration contrasting only tracer concentrations in the discharge. A view on upscaled transport volumes like hillslopes or catchments is maintained throughout the paper.


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