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Chemostatic concentration–discharge behaviour observed in a headwater catchment underlain with discontinuous permafrost

by Nathan Conroy, Carli Arendt, Stan D Wullschleger
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Journal Name
Hydrological Processes
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Concentration–discharge dynamics were evaluated in a small (~ 2.25 km2) headwater catchment underlain with discontinuous permafrost on the Seward Peninsula of western Alaska. A large storm, during which 48 mm of rain fell over a 24-h period, enabled the evaluation of solute concentration–discharge response to a sizeable hydrological event, while water stable isotopes enabled an appraisal of the contributions of event water. Under normal catchment conditions, chemostatic behaviour was observed for solutes typically derived from mineral weathering (e.g. calcium, magnesium, sodium and silica). The chemostatic behaviour observed for most solutes under normal catchment conditions indicated that catchment storage and residence times are sufficiently long for many solute generating reactions to approach equilibrium. Following the storm however, most solutes exhibited dilutive and highly variable behaviour. This likely indicated the exceedance of a discharge threshold where chemostatic behaviour could no longer be maintained for most solutes. Dissolved organic carbon and silica were the only solutes monitored to exhibit chemostatic behaviour during all time periods.