A coupled hydrology-biogeochemistry model to simulate dissolved organic carbon exports from a permafrost influenced catchment

Jason Scott Lessels, Doerthe Tetzlaff, Sean K. Carey, Pete Smith, Christopher Soulsby

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We outline the development of a simple, coupled hydrology-biogeochemistry model for simulating stream discharge and DOC dynamics in data sparse, permafrost-influenced catchments with large stores of soil organic carbon. The model incorporates the influence of active layer dynamics and slope aspect on hydrological flowpaths and resulting DOC mobilization. Calibration and evaluation of the model was undertaken using observations from Granger Basin within the Wolf Creek research basin, Yukon, northern Canada. Results show that the model was able to capture the dominant hydrological response and DOC dynamics of the catchment reasonably well. Simulated DOC was highly correlated with observed DOC (r2 = 0.65) for the study period. During the snowmelt period the model adequately captured the observed dynamics, with simulations generally reflecting the timing and magnitude of the observed DOC and stream discharge. The model was less successful over the later summer period, though this partly reflected a lack of DOC observations for calibration. The developed model offers a valuable framework for investigating the interactions between hydrological and DOC processes in these highly dynamic systems, where data acquisition is often very difficult
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5383-5396
Number of pages14
JournalHydrological Processes
Issue number26
Early online date14 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2015



  • coupled model
  • hydrology
  • biogeochemistry
  • DOC
  • permafrost
  • sub-arctic

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