Variability of Instream and Riparian Storage in a Beaded Arctic Stream

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Hydrological Processes



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The extent and variability of water storage and residence times throughout the open water season in beaded arctic streams are poorly understood. Data collected in Imnavait Creek, a beaded stream located north of the Brooks Range in Alaska, were used to better understand the effects of in‐pool and riparian storage on heat and mass movement through beaded streams. Temperature data of high spatial resolution within the pools and surrounding sediments were used with volumetric discharge and electrical conductivity to identify storage areas within the pools, banks, and other marshy areas within the riparian zone, including subsurface flow paths that connect the pools. These subsurface flows were found to alter water conductivity and the character of dissolved organic matter (DOM) in short reaches (10 s of m) while influencing the chemistry of downstream pools. During low flow periods, persistent stratification occurred within the pools due to absorption of solar radiation by DOM coupled with permafrost below and low wind stress at the pool surface. Additionally, one of the shallow pools (<0.5 m depth) remained stratified during higher flow periods and lower radiation inputs due to dense subsurface flows entering the bottom of the pools. This consistent separation of surface and bottom water masses in each pool will increase the travel times through this and similar arctic watersheds, and therefore will affect the evolution of water chemistry and material export.

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