In cockpit karst landscapes, fluxes from upland areas contribute large volumes of water to low-lying depressions and stream flow. Hydrograph hysteresis and similarity between monitoring sites is important for understanding the space–time variability of hydrologic responses across the “hillslope–depression–stream” continuum. In this study, the hysteretic feature of hydrographs was assessed by characterizing the loop-like relationships between responses at upstream sites relative to subsurface discharge at the outlet of a small karst catchment. A classification of hydrograph responses based on the multi-scale smoothing Kernel -derived distance classifies the hydrograph responses on the basis of similarities between hillslope and depression sites, and those at the catchment outlet. Results demonstrate that the temporal and spatial variability of hydrograph hysteresis and similarity between hillslope flow and outlet stream flow can be explained by the local heterogeneity of depression aquifer. Large depression storage deficits emerging in the highly heterogeneous aquifer produce strong hysteresis and multiple relationships of upstream hydrographs relative to the outlet subsurface discharge. In contrast, when depression storage deficits are filled during consecutive rainfall events, depression hydrographs at the high permeability sites are almost synchronous or exhibit a monotonous function with the hydrographs at the outlet. This reduced hydrograph hysteresis enhances preferential flow paths in fractured rocks and conduits that can accelerate the hillslope flow to the outlet. Therefore, classification of hydrograph similarities between any upstream sites and the catchment outlet can help to identify the dominant hydrological functions in the heterogeneous karst catchment.
|Number of pages||17|
|Early online date||2 May 2020|
|Publication status||Published - 30 Jul 2020|
- flow connectivity
- hydrological similarity
- hysteretic effect