Wetlands are widely recognized as sentinels of global climate change. Long-term monitoring data combined with process-based modeling has the potential to shed light on key processes and how they change over time. This paper reports the development and application of a simple water balance model based on long-term climate, soil, vegetation and hydrological dynamics to quantify groundwater–surface water (GW–SW) interactions at the Norman landfill research site in Oklahoma, USA. Our integrated approach involved model evaluation by means of the following independent measurements: (a) groundwater inflow calculation using stable isotopes of oxygen and hydrogen (16O, 18O, 1H, 2H); (b) seepage flux measurements in the wetland hyporheic sediment; and (c) pan evaporation measurements on land and in the wetland. The integrated approach was useful for identifying the dominant hydrological processes at the site, including recharge and subsurface flows. Simulated recharge compared well with estimates obtained using isotope methods from previous studies and allowed us to identify specific annual signatures of this important process during the period of study (1997–2007). Similarly, observations of groundwater inflow and outflow rates to and from the wetland using seepage meters and isotope methods were found to be in good agreement with simulation results. Results indicate that subsurface flow components in the system are seasonal and readily respond to rainfall events. The wetland water balance is dominated by local groundwater inputs and regional groundwater flow contributes little to the overall water balance.
Additional publication details
Quantifying wetland–aquifer interactions in a humid subtropical climate region: An integrated approach
Journal of Hydrology
Oklahoma Water Science Center, National Research Program - Eastern Branch