Quantifying surface water-groundwater interactions using time series analysis of streambed thermal records: Method development

Christine E. Hatch, Andrew T. Fisher, Justin S. Revenaugh, Jim Constantz, Chris Ruehl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

354 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present a method for determining streambed seepage rates using time series thermal data. The new method is based on quantifying changes in phase and amplitude of temperature variations between pairs of subsurface sensors. For a reasonable range of streambed thermal properties and sensor spacings the time series method should allow reliable estimation of seepage rates for a range of at least ±10 m d-1 (±1.2 × 10-2 m s-1), with amplitude variations being most sensitive at low flow rates and phase variations retaining sensitivity out to much higher rates. Compared to forward modeling, the new method requires less observational data and less setup and data handling and is faster, particularly when interpreting many long data sets. The time series method is insensitive to streambed scour and sedimentation, which allows for application under a wide range of flow conditions and allows time series estimation of variable streambed hydraulic conductivity. This new approach should facilitate wider use of thermal methods and improve understanding of the complex spatial and temporal dynamics of surface water-groundwater interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberW10410
JournalWater Resources Research
Volume42
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2006

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