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Characterization of Diffuse Groundwater Inflows into Stream Water (Part II: Quantifying Groundwater Inflows by Coupling FO-DTS and Vertical Flow Velocities)

Abstract : Temperature has been used to characterize groundwater and stream water exchanges for years. One of the many methods used analyzes propagation of the atmosphere-influenced diurnal signal in sediment to infer vertical velocities. However, despite having good accuracy, the method is usually limited by its small spatial coverage. The appearance of fiber optic distributed temperature sensing (FO-DTS) provided new possibilities due to its high spatial and temporal resolution. Methods based on the heat-balance equation, however, cannot quantify diffuse groundwater inflows that do not modify stream temperature. Our research approach consists of coupling groundwater inflow mapping from a previous article (Part I) and deconvolution of thermal profiles in the sediment to obtain vertical velocities along the entire reach. Vertical flows were calculated along a 400 m long reach, and a period of 9 months (October 2016 to June 2017), by coupling a fiber optic cable buried in thalweg sediment and a few thermal lances at the water-sediment interface. When compared to predictions of hyporheic discharge by traditional methods (differential discharge between upstream and downstream of the monitored reach and the mass-balance method), those of our method agreed only for the low-flow period and the end of the high-flow period. Our method underestimated hyporheic discharge during high flow. We hypothesized that the differential discharge and mass-balance methods included lateral inflows that were not detected by the fiber optic cable buried in thalweg sediment. Increasing spatial coverage of the cable as well as automatic and continuous calculation over the reach may improve predictions during the high-flow period. Coupling groundwater inflow mapping and vertical hyporheic flow allows flow to be quantified continuously, which is of great interest for characterizing and modeling fine hyporheic processes over long periods.
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Hugo Le Lay, Zahra Thomas, Francois Rouault, Pascal Pichelin, Florentina Moatar. Characterization of Diffuse Groundwater Inflows into Stream Water (Part II: Quantifying Groundwater Inflows by Coupling FO-DTS and Vertical Flow Velocities). Water, MDPI, 2019, 11 (2430), pp.2430-. ⟨10.3390/w11122430⟩. ⟨hal-02372086⟩

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