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Volume 20, issue 3 | Copyright
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 20, 1103-1115, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-20-1103-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 15 Mar 2016

Research article | 15 Mar 2016

Influence of climate variability on water partitioning and effective energy and mass transfer in a semi-arid critical zone

Xavier Zapata-Rios1,a, Paul D. Brooks2,1, Peter A. Troch1, Jennifer McIntosh1, and Craig Rasmussen3 Xavier Zapata-Rios et al.
  • 1Department of Hydrology and Water Resources, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA
  • 2Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
  • 3Soil, Water and Environmental Science, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA
  • aFacultad de Ingeniería en Ciencias Agropecuarias y Ambientales, Universidad Técnica del Norte, Ibarra, Ecuador

Abstract. The critical zone (CZ) is the heterogeneous, near-surface layer of the planet that regulates life-sustaining resources. Previous research has demonstrated that a quantification of the influxes of effective energy and mass transfer (EEMT) to the CZ can predict its structure and function. In this study, we quantify how climate variability in the last 3 decades (1984–2012) has affected water availability and the temporal trends in EEMT. This study takes place in the 1200km2 upper Jemez River basin in northern New Mexico. The analysis of climate, water availability, and EEMT was based on records from two high-elevation SNOTEL stations, PRISM data, catchment-scale discharge, and satellite-derived net primary productivity (MODIS). Results from this study indicated a decreasing trend in water availability, a reduction in forest productivity (4g Cm−2 per 10mm of reduction in precipitation), and decreasing EEMT (1.2–1.3MJm2decade−1). Although we do not know the timescales of CZ change, these results suggest an upward migration of CZ/ecosystem structure on the order of 100mdecade−1, and that decadal-scale differences in EEMT are similar to the differences between convergent/hydrologically subsidized and planar/divergent landscapes, which have been shown to be very different in vegetation and CZ structure.

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In this study, we quantify how climate variability in the last 3 decades (1984–2012) has affected water availability and the temporal trends in effective energy and mass transfer (EEMT). This study takes place in the Jemez River basin in northern New Mexico. Results from this study indicated a decreasing trend in water availability, a reduction in forest productivity (4 g C m−2 per 10 mm of reduction in precipitation), and decreasing EEMT (1.2–1.3 MJ m2 decade−1).
In this study, we quantify how climate variability in the last 3 decades (1984–2012) has...
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