Laboratory of Ecohydrology

Lausanne, Switzerland

Laboratory of Ecohydrology

Lausanne, Switzerland
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Bertuzzo E.,Laboratory of Ecohydrology | Rinaldo A.,Laboratory of Ecohydrology
Water Resources Research | Year: 2015

The form of fluvial landscapes is known to attain stationary network configurations that settle in dynamically accessible minima of total energy dissipation by landscape-forming discharges. Recent studies have highlighted the role of the dendritic structure of river networks in controlling population dynamics of the species they host and large-scale biodiversity patterns. Here, we systematically investigate the relation between energy dissipation, the physical driver for the evolution of river networks, and the ecological dynamics of their embedded biota. To that end, we use the concept of metapopulation capacity, a measure to link landscape structures with the population dynamics they host. Technically, metapopulation capacity is the leading eigenvalue λM of an appropriate "landscape" matrix subsuming whether a given species is predicted to persist in the long run. λM can conveniently be used to rank different landscapes in terms of their capacity to support viable metapopulations. We study how λM changes in response to the evolving network configurations of spanning trees. Such sequence of configurations is theoretically known to relate network selection to general landscape evolution equations through imperfect searches for dynamically accessible states frustrated by the vagaries of Nature. Results show that the process shaping the metric and the topological properties of river networks, prescribed by physical constraints, leads to a progressive increase in the corresponding metapopulation capacity and therefore on the landscape capacity to support metapopulations-with implications on biodiversity in fluvial ecosystems. © 2015. American Geophysical Union.


del Jesus M.,Hydrology group | Rinaldo A.,Laboratory of Ecohydrology | Rodriguez-Iturbe I.,Environmental Engineering and Water ResourcesPrinceton UniversityPrinceton
Water Resources Research | Year: 2015

Satellite rainfall measurements, nowadays commonly available, provide valuable information about the spatial structure of rainfall. In areas with low-density rain gage networks, or where these networks are nonexistent, satellite rainfall measurements can also provide useful estimates to be used as virtual rain gages. However, satellite and rain gage measurements are statistically different in nature and cannot be directly compared to one another. In the present paper, we develop a methodology to downscale satellite rainfall measurements to generate rain-gage-equivalent statistics. We apply the methodology to four locations along a strong rainfall gradient in the Kalahari transect, southern Africa, to validate the methodology. We show that the method allows the estimation of point rainfall statistics where only satellite measurements exist. Point rainfall statistics are key descriptors for ecohydrologic studies linking the response of vegetation to rainfall dynamics. © 2015. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved..


Botter G.,University of Padua | Bertuzzo E.,University of Padua | Bertuzzo E.,Laboratory of Ecohydrology | Rinaldo A.,University of Padua | Rinaldo A.,Laboratory of Ecohydrology
Geophysical Research Letters | Year: 2011

The probability density functions (pdf's) of travel and residence times are key descriptors of the mechanisms through which catchments retain and release old and event water, transporting solutes to receiving water bodies. In this paper we analyze theoretically such pdf's, whose proper characterization reveals important conceptual and practical differences. A general stochastic framework applicable to arbitrary catchment control volumes is adopted, where time-variable precipitation, evapotranspiration and discharge are assumed to be the major hydrological drivers. The master equation for the residence time pdf is derived and solved analytically, providing expressions for travel and residence time pdf's as a function of input/output fluxes and of the relevant mixing. Our solutions suggest intrinsically time-variant travel and residence time pdf's through a direct dependence on hydrological forcings and soil-vegetation dynamics. The proposed framework integrates age-dating and tracer hydrology techniques, and provides a coherent framework for catchment transport models based on travel times. Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.


Zanardo S.,Purdue University | Zanardo S.,University of Padua | Zanardo S.,University of Minnesota | Basu N.B.,University of Iowa | And 4 more authors.
Water Resources Research | Year: 2012

This paper proposes a minimalist modeling approach for characterizing pesticide concentrations in runoff from agricultural catchments across spatial scales. The model proposed is of an intermediate level of complexity between traditional chromatographic separation models and the more complex dual-domain models. Parsimony in the model is achieved by assuming stationarity of catchment travel time distributions and by coupling a dual-domain source zone model that describes near-surface pesticide dynamics with the mass response function (MRF) approach, which describes catchment-scale solute transport. The model is evaluated by comparing predicted atrazine concentrations with measured values over a 5 yr period at two spatial scales (tile drain: 3-5 ha; river station: 69 km2) within an intensively managed agricultural catchment in Illinois, United States. Pesticide dynamics within the source zone provided the strongest control on leaching. Two parameters were calibrated at the tile scale, , which describes partitioning in the dual-domain surficial source zone, and ke, which describes the mass transfer rate constant between the two domains. The initial peak of concentration was found to be sensitive to , while the later peaks were sensitive to ke. The calibrated parameters at the tile stations were used to predict atrazine dynamics at the river station. Prediction errors are examined and related to the lack of detailed information about anthropogenic forcings across scales (e.g., land-use or soil/crop management practices).


Suweis S.,Laboratory of Ecohydrology | Suweis S.,Princeton University | Konar M.,Princeton University | Dalin C.,Princeton University | And 4 more authors.
Geophysical Research Letters | Year: 2011

Recurrent or ephemeral water shortages are a crucial global challenge, in particular because of their impacts on food production. The global character of this challenge is reflected in the trade among nations of virtual water, i.e., the amount of water used to produce a given commodity. We build, analyze and model the network describing the transfer of virtual water between world nations for staple food products. We find that all the key features of the network are well described by a model that reproduces both the topological and weighted properties of the global virtual water trade network, by assuming as sole controls each country's gross domestic product and yearly rainfall on agricultural areas. We capture and quantitatively describe the high degree of globalization of water trade and show that a small group of nations play a key role in the connectivity of the network and in the global redistribution of virtual water. Finally, we illustrate examples of prediction of the structure of the network under future political, economic and climatic scenarios, suggesting that the crucial importance of the countries that trade large volumes of water will be strengthened. Copyright © 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.


Queloz P.,Laboratory of Ecohydrology | Carraro L.,Laboratory of Ecohydrology | Benettin P.,DICEA | Botter G.,DICEA | And 2 more authors.
Water Resources Research | Year: 2015

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. © 2015. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.


Queloz P.,Laboratory of Ecohydrology | Bertuzzo E.,Laboratory of Ecohydrology | Carraro L.,Laboratory of Ecohydrology | Botter G.,DICEA | And 3 more authors.
Water Resources Research | Year: 2015

This paper reports about the experimental evidence collected on the transport of five fluorobenzoate tracers injected under controlled conditions in a vegetated hydrologic volume, a large lysimeter (fitted with load cells, sampling ports, and an underground chamber) where two willows prompting large evapotranspiration fluxes had been grown. The relevance of the study lies in the direct and indirect measures of the ways in which hydrologic fluxes, in this case, evapotranspiration from the upper surface and discharge from the bottom drainage, sample water and solutes in storage at different times under variable hydrologic forcings. Methods involve the accurate control of hydrologic inputs and outputs and a large number of suitable chemical analyses of water samples in discharge waters. Mass extraction from biomass has also been performed ex post. The results of the 2 year long experiment established that our initial premises on the tracers' behavior, known to be sorption-free under saturated conditions which we verified in column leaching tests, were unsuitable as large differences in mass recovery appeared. Issues on reactivity thus arose and were addressed in the paper, in this case attributed to microbial degradation and solute plant uptake. Our results suggest previously unknown features of fluorobenzoate compounds as hydrologic tracers, potentially interesting for catchment studies owing to their suitability for distinguishable multiple injections, and an outlook on direct experimental closures of mass balance in hydrologic transport volumes involving fluxes that are likely to sample differently stored water and solutes. © 2015. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.

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