Seasonal hydrology of oxygen-18 in the Allt a' Mharcaidh, Scotland: Implications for water movement and residence times

C. Soulsby*, R. Malcolm, R. C. Ferrier, R. C. Helliwell, A. Jenkins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article

Abstract

The seasonal variation of oxygen-18 has been observed in precipitation, groundwater and streamwater in the Allt a' Mharcaidh catchment, Cairngorm mountains, Scotland. Precipitation showed strong seasonal variation in its isotopic signature over the 1995-1998 study period. As anticipated, such variation was substantially damped in groundwater and surface water. Nevertheless, 18O proved a useful tracer, indicating the influence of spring snowmelt events and summer rainfall on stream waters. Detailed examination of the seasonal variation in δ18O levels in various catchment waters provided an insight into mixing processes and a first approximation of mean residence times. Preliminary estimates for the latter are <180 days for (inferred) near-surface soil water and storm runoff, 2.5 and >5 years for shallow and deeper groundwater respectively. These longer-term data sets demonstrate the ability of the catchment to effectively mix new precipitation with resident soil and groundwater over the hydrological year. This implies that the influence of groundwater on the hydrology and hydrochemistry upland catchments has been underestimated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-134
Number of pages8
JournalIAHS-AISH Publication
Issue number258
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 1999
EventProceedings of the 1999 IUGG 99, the XXII General Assembly of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics - Birmingham, UK
Duration: 18 Jul 199930 Jul 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Oceanography

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