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Components of the Earths system

Huddart and Stott, 2010


Hydrological cycle
Hydrological
Cycle
79
88
9
21
12
9
Horz Atmos transfer
of water vapour
PPt on
continents
Evapotranspiration
from continents
PPt in
oceans
Evaporation
from oceans
Runoff to oceans
Summerfield, 1990
78 % of mean annual global ppt of approx 1000 mm
Global Population Trend and Water
Resources
Arithmetic-exponential
Logarithmic-logistic
Whitmore et al., 1990
(River)
Distribution of Water
Glacial contribution to river melt
(Bookhagen and Burbank, 2010)
Precipitation
Introduction
All forms of water that reach the earth fromthe
atmosphereiscalledPrecipitation.
The usual forms are rainfall, snowfall, frost, hail,
dew. Of all these, the first two contribute
significant amountsof water.
Rainfall being the predominant form of
precipitation causing stream flow, especially the
flood flow in majority of rivers. Thus, in this
context, rainfall is used synonymously with
precipitation.
Introduction.
Types of precipitation
Rain, snow, hail, drizzle, glaze, sleet
Rain:
Is precipitation in the form of water drops of size larger
than 0.5 mm to 6mm
The rainfall is classified in to
Light rain if intensity is trace to 2.5 mm/ h
Moderate if intensity is 2.5 mm/ hr to 7.5 mm/ hr
Heavy rain above 7.5 mm/ hr
Introduction.
Snow:
Snow is formed from ice crystal masses, which usually
combine to form flakes
Hail (violent thunderstorm)
precipitation in the form of small balls or lumps usually
consisting of concentric layers of clear ice and compact
snow.
Hail varies from 0.5 to 5 cm in diameter and can be
damaging crops and small buildings.
Precipitation formation
Ability of air to hold
water vapour T
Process
Cooling of atmosphere
Condensation around
minute particles
Condensation nuclei
Growth of water/ ice
droplets
Fall due to gravity
Atmospheric cooling
Uplift of air through atmos.
Heating of earth
Convective PPt
due to obstruction
Orographic PPt
Low pressure weather
system cyclonic PPt
Meeting of warm air mass
with cool air mass or object
Precipitation formation
Condensation nuclei
Dust, sea salts, smoke
< 1 m
Cloud seeding
Water droplet growth
Threshold size ~ 3000 m
Continued condensation
Collision & coalescence
Bergeron process
Vapour pressure (Pv)
Saturated Pv [water > ice]
water vapour movement towards
ice crystals
Precipitation distribution
Static influences (do not vary
between storm events)
Mostly local scale except rain
shadow effect
Altitude
Controls Temp
Aspect
Slope wrt predominant weather
pattern
Humid mid-latitudes westerlies
wind
West facing slope more rainfall
Slope
Relevant at very small scale
Dynamic influences
Regional scale
Different weather pattern
Spatial and temporal distribution pattern
Precipitation distribution
Rainfall measurement
Rain gauge point
measurement
Sources of errors
Losses due to evaporation
Losses due to wetting of gauge
Over-measurement due to
splash from the surrounding
area
Under-measurement due to
turbulence around the gauge
20-40% loss based on wind
speed
Sources of errors
Siting of rain gauge
Average vs continuous measurement
Magnitude vs. intensity
Tipping-bucket rain
gauge
Snowfall measurement
Snow gauge
Heated rim
Higher rise of the gauge
(-) More secondary drifting
by wind
(-) High rise turbulence
Snow depth
Core sampler
(-) average measurement
(-) uneven distribution of
snow surface
(-) snow drifting
Raingauge Network
Since the catching area of the raingauge is very
small as compared to the areal extent of the
storm, to get representative picture of a storm
over a catchment the number of raingauges
should beas largeas possible, i.e. thecatchment
areaper gaugeshouldbesmall.
There are several factors to be considered to
restrict thenumber of gauge:
Likeeconomicconsiderationstoalargeextent
Topographic&accessibilitytosomeextent.
Raingauge Network..
World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
recommendation:
Inflat regionsof temperate, Mediterraneanandtropical zones
Ideal 1stationfor 600 900km
2
Acceptable1stationfor 900 3000km
2
In mountainous regions of temperate, Mediterranean andtropical
zones
Ideal 1stationfor 100 250km
2
Acceptable1stationfor 250 1000km
2
Inaridandpolar zone
1stationfor 1500 10,000km
2
10%of theraingaugesshouldbeself recordingtoknowthe
intensityof therainfall
Mean Precipitation over an area
Raingauges rainfall represent only point sampling of the
areal distribution of a storm
The important rainfall for hydrological analysis is a rainfall
over an area, such as over the catchment
To convert the point rainfall values at various stations to in
to average value over a catchment, the following methods
are used:
arithmetic mean
the method of the Thiessen polygons
the isohyets method
When the area is physically and climatically homogenous
and the required accuracy is small, the average rainfall ( )
for a basin can be obtained as the arithmetic mean of the
h
i
values recorded at various stations.
Applicable rarely for practical purpose
Arithmetic Mean Method

=
=
+ + + +
=
N
i
i
n i
P
N N
P P P P
P
1
2 1
1 ..... .....
P
Catchment scale rainfall measurement
Thiessens Polygons
Polygons representative area
to each rain gauge
Boundaries
Equidistant from each gauge
Right angle
R- spatially average rainfall
r
i
rainfall at gauge i
a area of polygon
A Total catchment area
Uniform topography

=
=
n
i
i i
A
a r
R
1
Thiessen polygons.
Thiessen polygons.
A
1
A
2
A
3
A
4
A
5
A
6
A
7
A
8
P
1
P
2
P
3
P
4
P
5
P
6
P
7
P
8
( )
m
m m
A A A
A P A P A P
P
+ + +
+ + +
=
.....
.....
2 1
2 2 1 1

=
=
= =
M
i
i
i
total
i
M
i
i
A
A
P
A
A P
P
1
1
Thiessen polygons.
Generally for M station
The ratio is called the weightage factor of station i
A
A
i
Catchment scale rainfall measurement
Hypsometric method
Use of elevation information
R- spatially average rainfall
r
i
avg rainfall between two
contour intervals
p
j
proportion of the total
catchment area
Assumption linear
relationship between elevation
and rainfall

=
=
m
j
j j
p r R
1
Catchment scale rainfall measurement
Isohyetal method
This is generally the most accuratemethod but is also the most laborious.
If large rain gauge
distribution
Isohytes are drawn
through interpolation

=
=
n
i
i i
A
a r
R
1
R- spatially average rainfall
r
i
avg rainfall between isohyte
a
i
area between each isohyte
A Total catchment area
An isohyet is a line joining points of equal rainfall
magnitude.
Isohyetal Method
F
B
E
A
C
D
12
9.2
4.0
7.0
7.2
9.1
10.0
10.0
12
8
8
6
6
4
4
a
1
a
1
a
2
a
3
a
4
a
5
P
1
, P
2
, P
3
, . , P
n
thevaluesof theisohytes
a
1
, a
2
, a
3
, ., a
4
aretheinterisohytesarearespectively
A thetotal catchmentarea
- themeanprecipitationoverthecatchment
Isohyetal Method
P
A
P P
a
P P
a
P P
a
P
n n
n
|
.
|

\
|
+
+ +
|
.
|

\
|
+
+
|
.
|

\
|
+
=

2
...
2 2
1
1
3 2
2
2 1
1
The isohyet method is superior to the other two methods
especially when the stations are large in number.
NOTE
Rainfall to Runoff
Runoff: Movement of water to a channelised
stream
Components of runoff
Runoff Mechanism
Overland flow
Hortonian Overland flow
(Horton, 1933)
P > I
I controlling factor
Thin sheet of water -
Infiltration excess overland
flow (rainfall excess)
Partial area concept (Betson, 1964)
- only a portion of a watershed contributes infiltration-excess overland flow
Runoff Mechanism
Overland flow -II
P < I (all P)
Qo = return flow + P (in saturated area)
Saturated overland flow
(Hwelett & Hibbert, 1967)
Highest water table
close to stream
thin soil cover
base of slopes
slope concavities
Saturated zone vary from storm to storm
Variable source area concept
(partial area) dynamic in space and time
- area of watershed contributing saturation-excess overland flow changes with time
Variable source area concept
Runoff Mechanism
Comparison
Dominant Qo in humid, mid-latitude areas Saturated Qo
Dominant Qo in arid, semi-arid areas Infiltration excess Qo
(Flash flood)
Runoff Mechanism
Subsurface flow
Throughflow movement of water through the
unsaturated zone (soil matrix)
Not a rapid movement 13 mm/ hr (fine sandy loam
Scotter, 1992)
2
nd
mechanism Piston flow new water displaces old
water (examined in lab)
Macropores (> 3mm pores - pipe network)
Soil cracking, worms burrowing or other biotic activites
Role is not very clear
Runoff Mechanism
Groundwater contribution
Capillary fringe hypothesis
Rise in WT immediately adjacent to stream
Addition of small amount of infiltrating rainfall
Soil water moves from unsaturated to saturated state
| GW discharge area | GW contribution
GW contribution before throughflow contribution
Runoff Mechanism
Spatial and temporal variation in process
Mode of contribution differs
Influent Streams
Effluent Streams
Most of the studies hillslope scale
Catchment scale role of drainage network
Measurement
- No standard method to measure runoff
Overland flow
Collection troughs at the bottom of
hillslopes/ runoff plots
Runoff plots
Area of hillslope with definite boundaries
Qo is generated from each plots
Boundaries metal plates into the soil
Use many RP for one estimate( temporal and
spatial variability)
Measurement
Throughflow
Through digging a pit in soil profile
(-) disturbance in soil profile
overestimation
Runoff Stream
Copyright Mike Slattery 2002
Sheetflow
Runoff to Streams
Streamflowbegins as moving sheetwash.
Thin surface layer of water.
Moves down the steepest slope.
Erodes substrate.
Sheetwasherosion
creates tiny rill channels.
Rills coalesce, deepen,
and downcut into channels.
River, River basin and its
components
Streamflow
Streams Ribbons of water that flow down channels.
Stream water is crucial for humans.
Drinking water.
Transportation.
Waste disposal.
Recreation.
Commerce.
Irrigation.
Energy.
River Basin
Forming Streams
Streamflowbegins as water is added to the
surface.
The amount water flowing in a channel.
Volume of water passing a point per unit time.
Cubic feet per second (ft
3
/ s).
Cubic meters per second (m
3
/ s).
Given by cross-sectional area x flow velocity.
Varies seasonally due to precipitation and runoff.
Discharge
Permanent vs. Ephemeral
Permanent streams
Water flows all year.
At or below the water
table.
Humid or temperate.
Sufficient rainfall.
Lower evaporation.
Discharge varies seasonally.
Ephemeral streams
Do not flow all year.
Above the water table.
Dry climates.
Low rainfall.
High evaporation.
Flow mostly during rare
flash floods.
Hydrological response of
a river basin
(rainfall discharge relationship)
Hydrographs are graphs which show river discharge over a given
period of time
and
show the response of a drainage basin and its river to a period of
rainfall.
Hydrograph
Hydrograph Chracteristics
Unit Hydrograph
Hydrograph of a surface runoff resulting from effective
rainfall falling in an unit amount of rainfall in a given
time
Assumption
Hortonianoverland flow (P-I)
Surface runoff is produced uniformly in space and time over
the total catchment area
Applications
Rainfall-runoff relationship for a given catchment
Hydrological resposneof a river basin
Shape of a storm hydrograph f{ physical characteristics of the
catchment)
Q
p
, t
p
Prediction capability
Factors affecting a
flood hydrograph
Basin characteristics
Permeable/ impermeable
rocks
Slope
Drainage density
Type of rainfall
Heavy rain short t
Slow+ long rain longer t
Direction of rainfall
Factors affecting a flood hydrograph
Land use and
urbanization
Size of the basin
Shape of the basin
Civil Engineering works
Floodplain and Flood Hazard
River floodplain
Floodplain
Floodplain and recurrence
interval
Groundwater
Distribution of Water
The Underground Reservoir
Some precipitation enters the subsurface via
infiltration.
Soil properties and vegetation govern infiltration
rate.
Infiltrated water adds to soil moisture and
groundwater.
Soil moisture wets the soil.
Some is wicked up by roots, some is evaporated.
The Underground Reservoir
Some infiltrated water percolates to a deeper level.
It is added to water that fills subsurface void spaces.
This is groundwater.
Porosity
Groundwater resides in subsurface pore spaces.
Pores are open spaces within any sediment or rock.
The total volume of open space is termed porosity.
Geologic materials exhibit a wide range of porosities.
Porosity
Two categories of
porosity.
Secondary porosity
Developed after rock
formation.
Fracturing.
Faulting.
Dissolution.
Permeability
The ease of water flow due to pore interconnectedness.
High-permeability material allows water to flow readily.
Water flows slowly through low-permeability material.
Many large and straight flow paths enhance permeability.
Aquifers and Aquitards
Aquifer Sediment or rock that transmits water easily.
Aquitard Sediment or rock that hinders water flow.
Aquifers and aquitardsare commonly interlayered.
Aquifers and Aquitards
Unconfined An aquifer that intersects the surface.
In contact with the atmosphere.
Easily contaminated.
Confined An aquifer beneath an aquitard.
Isolated from the surface.
Less susceptible to pollution.
Aquifers and Aquitards
Example: Mahomet aquifer.
Permeable sands in linear glacial meltwater channels.
Channels carved into underlying bedrock.
Water-bearing sands supply prodigious volumes of water.
Aquifers and Aquitards
Example: Dakota sandstone aquifer.
Cretaceous fluvial sandstones interlayeredwith shales.
Deformation of the Black Hills uplifted the western end.
Recharge in the Black Hills fills a gigantic aquifer system.
The Water Table
The water table is a subsurface boundary.
Above the water table, pores are mostly filled with air.
This is called the vadose(or unsaturated) zone.
Below the water table, pores are filled with water.
This is called the phreatic(or saturated) zone.
The capillary fringe separates the two zones.
Formed of moisture wicked upward above the water table.
The Water Table
The depth to the water table is variable.
In humid settings, the water table is closer to the surface.
In arid settings, it may be 10s to 100s of meters down.
Perennial surface water exposes the water table.
Streams.
Lakes and ponds.
Wetlands.
The Water Table
The water table is the top of the zone of saturation.
Water table position changes with rainfall.
During seasonally rainy periods, the water table rises.
During prolonged droughts, the water table falls.
Ponds dry up if the water table falls below the bottom.
Water Table Topography
The water table is not flat; it is a sloping surface.
The water table is a subdued replica of the topography.
The water table is high where the land is high.
The water table is low where the land is low.
Water flows from higher elevations to lower elevations.
Topography is useful for estimating groundwater flow.
Perched Water Tables
Discontinuous aquitardsmay exist in the subsurface.
These arrest downward infiltration to the water table.
These aquitardsform perched water tables.
Overlie unsaturated material.
Represent a false water table.
More easily dewatered.
Groundwater Flow
Hydraulic head, potential energy driving flow, is due to
Elevation above sea level.
Pressure exerted by weight of overlying water.
In the illustration below, the hydraulic head at p
1
> p
2
.
They have the same elevation.
The weight of water over p
1
is greater than that over p
2
.
A piezometer is used to measure hydraulic head.
An open-ended pipe.
Installed below the water table.
Water level is the hydraulic head.
Groundwater Flow
Groundwater flows slowly under the influence of
gravity.
Flow in the unsaturated zone is straight downward.
In the saturated zone, flow is more complicated.
Governed by gravity and pressure.
Groundwater Flow
Flow is determined by measuring hydraulic head.
Flow alwaysmoves from high to low hydraulic head.
Thus water table highs flow to water table lows.
Flow paths, however, are not straight lines.
Flow follows a curved, concave-up path.
Water can flow upwards moving to lower hydraulic head.
Upward flow
Groundwater Flow Rates
Groundwater movement is slow relative to surface water.
It must percolate through pore openings.
Flow is further slowed by friction and electrostatic forces.
Typical rates of flow.
Ocean currents 3 km / hour
Steep river channel 30 km / hour
Groundwater 0.00002 km / hour
Groundwater Flow
Groundwater flow occurs on a variety of scales.
Local Shallow flow over short times and distances.
Intermediate Flow of moderate depth, time, and distance.
Regional Deep, long-distance, long-duration flow.
Tapping Groundwater
Human use requires that groundwater be captured.
Wells Holes excavated or drilled to obtain water.
Springs Natural groundwater outlets.
There are many types of wells and springs.
Tapping Groundwater
Drawdown from multiple wells in an area is additive.
Cones of depression often interfere.
A small well creates a small cone.
A large well creates a large cone.
One may dewater the other.
Competing uses often conflict.
Tapping Groundwater
Artesian wells tap confined, tilted aquifers.
Upland recharge pressurizes the aquifer.
Water rises in artesian wells to the potentiometricsurface.
Analogue of the water table for a confined aquifer.
Determined by hydraulic head elevation in recharge area.
A well casing below this surface will flow without pumping.
Tapping Groundwater
Springsare locations of natural groundwater discharge.
Springs are important resources for humans.
Yield fresh, clear, clean water.
No need for drilling.
Spring flow is often steady.
Springs form in many ways.
Tapping Groundwater
Springs result from varied geologic features.
Where water-bearing fractures intersect the surface.
Where a fault juxtaposes permeability contrasts.
Tapping Groundwater
Springs result from varied geologic features.
Leakage of a confined aquifer along a joint or
fracture.
Exposure of a perching layer at the surface.
Tapping Groundwater
Oases in the Sahara develop from
spring flow.
Water from recharge areas flows
to oasis discharge points.
These locations have been
culturally important for millenia.
Groundwater Problems
Groundwater is an important natural resource.
It accounts for 95% of all the fresh water on Earth.
It supplies a substantial portion of drinking water needs.
Groundwater is threatened by
Mismangement.
Overuse.
Pollution.
Groundwater Depletion
Severe water table decline can alter surface water flow.
By capturing flow, wells may dewater streams and lakes.
Especially problematic in
arid and semi-arid regions.
Groundwater Depletion
Cones of depression are capable of reversing flow.
An expanding cone may capture pollutants.
Groundwater Depletion
Beneath coastal land, fresh water floats on salt water.
Pumping causes the fresh/ salt boundary to rise.
Eventually, salt water may enter the pumping well.
Salt water intrusion renders the water unpotable.
Groundwater Depletion
Water in pore space acts to hold grains apart.
When ground water is removed
Sediment grains compress, pores collapse.
The land surface cracks and sinks.
Subsidence is mostly irreversible.
Groundwater Depletion
Proactive measures can prevent withdrawal
subsidence.
Structures are designed to recharge surface water.
Recharge basins return water to the groundwater
system.
This serves to reduce the effects of excess withdrawal.