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  • 1
    Language: English
    In: Environmental Earth Sciences, 2013, Vol.69(2), pp.429-441
    Description: The impact of diffuse pollution, agricultural land use and climate change on the long-term response of subsurface–surface water quality is not well understood, but is a prerequisite for evaluation of water management options. The goal of this study is to model geochemical evolution of water chemistry from the infiltration through soil into the unsaturated zone, transport through bedrocks and granular aquifers to a river in order to identify zones of steep concentration gradients and high dynamics under transient flow conditions. A numerical model was constructed comprising a 2-D 1,500 m × 150 m vertical cross-section of typical sedimentary rock formations, a glacio-fluvial quaternary gravel aquifer in the valley and soil layers. The model coupled saturated/un-saturated flow and reactive transport under steady state and transient conditions. Geochemical interactions, include intra-aqueous kinetic reactions of oxygen with dissolved organic matter, as well as kinetics of carbonate dissolution/precipitation. This model section was chosen to provide insight in to the principal processes and time scales affecting water chemistry along different flow paths. The numerical simulator MIN3P was used, a finite volume program for variably saturated subsurface flow and multi-component reactive transport. The results show that subsurface water residence times range from approximately 2 to 2,000 years. Different zones are to be expected with respect to the development of mineral equilibria; namely, purely atmospherically influenced, as well as open and closed system carbonate dissolution. Short-term responses to daily averaged changes in precipitation, however, are only visible to some extent in the shallower and near-river parts of flow system and solute loads. This can most likely be explained by directional changes in flow paths, indicating that equilibrium geochemical condition predominate at the hillslope scale, i.e. water quality depends on transport pathways rather than on kinetic effects. The extent of reducing conditions is controlled by the presence of organic-rich layers (i.e. peat deposits), the dissolution kinetics of aquifer organic matter and the subsequent mixing with oxygenated water by hydrodynamic dispersion.
    Keywords: Rock water interaction ; Water chemistry evolution ; Hydrogeochemical modelling ; Water residence time ; Catchment hydrology
    ISSN: 1866-6280
    E-ISSN: 1866-6299
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  • 2
    Language: English
    In: Environmental Earth Sciences, 5/2013, Vol.69(2), pp.313-315
    Keywords: Geology;
    ISSN: 1866-6280
    E-ISSN: 1866-6299
    Source: Springer (via CrossRef)
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  • 3
    Language: English
    In: Environmental Earth Sciences, 2013, Vol.69(2), pp.373-380
    Description: Transport of hydrophobic organic pollutants in rivers is mainly coupled to transport of suspended particles. Turbidity measurements are often used to assess the amount of suspended solids in water. In this study, a monitoring campaign is presented where the total concentration of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), the amount of total suspended solids (TSS), and turbidity was measured in water samples from five neighboring catchments in southwest Germany. Linear correlations of turbidity and TSS were obtained which were in close agreement to the literature data. From linear regressions of turbidity versus total PAH concentrations in water, mean concentrations of PAH on suspended particles could be calculated and these varied by catchment. These values furthermore comprise a robust measure of the average sediment quality in a given catchment. Since in the catchments investigated in this study, PAH concentrations on suspended particles were stable over a large turbidity range (1–114 Nephelometric Turbidity Units), turbidity could be used as a proxy for total PAHs and likely other highly hydrophobic organic pollutants in river water if the associated correlations are established. Based on that, online monitoring of turbidity (e.g., by optical backscattering sensors) seems very promising to determine annual pollutant fluxes.
    Keywords: Turbidity ; Total suspended solids ; Hydrophobic pollutants ; Particle-facilitated transport ; Catchment hydrology
    ISSN: 1866-6280
    E-ISSN: 1866-6299
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  • 4
    Language: English
    In: Environmental Earth Sciences, 2013, Vol.69(2), pp.317-333
    Description: Sustainable water quality management requires a profound understanding of water fluxes (precipitation, run-off, recharge, etc.) and solute turnover such as retention, reaction, transformation, etc. at the catchment or landscape scale. The Water and Earth System Science competence cluster (WESS, http://www.wess.info/ ) aims at a holistic analysis of the water cycle coupled to reactive solute transport, including soil–plant–atmosphere and groundwater–surface water interactions. To facilitate exploring the impact of land-use and climate changes on water cycling and water quality, special emphasis is placed on feedbacks between the atmosphere, the land surface, and the subsurface. A major challenge lies in bridging the scales in monitoring and modeling of surface/subsurface versus atmospheric processes. The field work follows the approach of contrasting catchments, i.e. neighboring watersheds with different land use or similar watersheds with different climate. This paper introduces the featured catchments and explains methodologies of WESS by selected examples.
    Keywords: Water and solute fluxes ; Water quality ; Catchments ; Land-surface atmosphere exchange ; Processes and feedbacks ; Modeling ; Monitoring
    ISSN: 1866-6280
    E-ISSN: 1866-6299
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