Journal cover Journal topic
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 227-255, 2016
http://www.hydrol-earth-syst-sci.net/20/227/2016/
doi:10.5194/hess-20-227-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
18 Jan 2016
The Hydrological Open Air Laboratory (HOAL) in Petzenkirchen: a hypothesis-driven observatory
G. Blöschl1,2, A. P. Blaschke1,2,8, M. Broer1, C. Bucher1,3, G. Carr1, X. Chen1, A. Eder1,4, M. Exner-Kittridge1,5, A. Farnleitner1,6,8, A. Flores-Orozco7, P. Haas1,2, P. Hogan1, A. Kazemi Amiri1, M. Oismüller1, J. Parajka1,2, R. Silasari1, P. Stadler1,5, P. Strauss4, M. Vreugdenhil1, W. Wagner1,7, and M. Zessner1,5 1Centre for Water Resource Systems, TU Wien, Karlsplatz 13, 1040 Vienna, Austria
2Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management, TU Wien, Karlsplatz 13/222, 1040 Vienna, Austria
3Institute of Building Construction and Technology, TU Wien, Karlsplatz 13/206, 1040 Vienna, Austria
4Institute for Land and Water Management Research, Federal Agency for Water Management, Pollnbergstraße 1, 3252 Petzenkirchen, Austria
5Institute for Water Quality, Resource and Waste Management, TU Wien, Karlsplatz 13/226, 1040 Vienna, Austria
6Institute of Chemical Engineering, TU Wien, Gumpendorfer Straße 1a, 1060 Vienna, Austria
7Department for Geodesy and Geoinformation, TU Wien, Gußhausstraße 25-29/120, 1040 Vienna, Austria
8Interuniversity Cooperation Centre for Water & Health, TU Wien, Vienna, Austria
Abstract. Hydrological observatories bear a lot of resemblance to the more traditional research catchment concept, but tend to differ in providing more long-term facilities that transcend the lifetime of individual projects, are more strongly geared towards performing interdisciplinary research, and are often designed as networks to assist in performing collaborative science. This paper illustrates how the experimental and monitoring set-up of an observatory, the 66 ha Hydrological Open Air Laboratory (HOAL) in Petzenkirchen, Lower Austria, has been established in a way that allows meaningful hypothesis testing. The overarching science questions guided site selection, identification of dissertation topics and the base monitoring. The specific hypotheses guided the dedicated monitoring and sampling, individual experiments, and repeated experiments with controlled boundary conditions. The purpose of the HOAL is to advance the understanding of water-related flow and transport processes involving sediments, nutrients and microbes in small catchments. The HOAL catchment is ideally suited for this purpose, because it features a range of different runoff generation processes (surface runoff, springs, tile drains, wetlands), the nutrient inputs are known, and it is convenient from a logistic point of view as all instruments can be connected to the power grid and a high-speed glassfibre local area network (LAN). The multitude of runoff generation mechanisms in the catchment provides a genuine laboratory where hypotheses of flow and transport can be tested, either by controlled experiments or by contrasting sub-regions of different characteristics. This diversity also ensures that the HOAL is representative of a range of catchments around the world, and the specific process findings from the HOAL are applicable to a variety of agricultural catchment settings. The HOAL is operated jointly by the Vienna University of Technology and the Federal Agency for Water Management and takes advantage of the Vienna Doctoral Programme on Water Resource Systems funded by the Austrian Science Funds. The paper presents the science strategy of the set-up of the observatory, discusses the implementation of the HOAL, gives examples of the hypothesis testing and summarises the lessons learned. The paper concludes with an outlook on future developments.

Citation: Blöschl, G., Blaschke, A. P., Broer, M., Bucher, C., Carr, G., Chen, X., Eder, A., Exner-Kittridge, M., Farnleitner, A., Flores-Orozco, A., Haas, P., Hogan, P., Kazemi Amiri, A., Oismüller, M., Parajka, J., Silasari, R., Stadler, P., Strauss, P., Vreugdenhil, M., Wagner, W., and Zessner, M.: The Hydrological Open Air Laboratory (HOAL) in Petzenkirchen: a hypothesis-driven observatory, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 227-255, doi:10.5194/hess-20-227-2016, 2016.
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This paper illustrates the experimental and monitoring set-up of the 66 ha Hydrological Open Air Laboratory (HOAL) in Petzenkirchen, Lower Austria, which allows meaningful hypothesis testing. The HOAL catchment features a range of different runoff generation processes (surface runoff, springs, tile drains, wetlands), and is convenient from a logistic point of view as all instruments can be connected to the power grid and a high-speed glassfibre local area network.
This paper illustrates the experimental and monitoring set-up of the 66 ha Hydrological Open Air...
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