Scaling and predicting solute transport processes in streams Public Deposited

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  • We investigated scaling of conservative solute transport using temporal moment analysis of 98 tracer experiments (384 breakthrough curves) conducted in 44 streams located on five continents. The experiments span 7 orders of magnitude in discharge (10⁻ ³ to 10³ m³/s), span 5 orders of magnitude in longitudinal scale (10¹ to 10⁵ m), and sample different lotic environments—forested headwater streams, hyporheic zones, desert streams, major rivers, and an urban manmade channel. Our meta-analysis of these data reveals that the coefficient of skewness is constant over time (CSK ¼ 1:1860:08, R² > 0:98). In contrast, the CSK of all commonly used solute transport models decreases over time. This shows that current theory is inconsistent with experimental data and suggests that a revised theory of solute transport is needed. Our meta-analysis also shows that the variance (second normalized central moment) is correlated with the mean travel time (R² > 0:86), and the third normalized central moment and the product of the first two are very strongly correlated (R² > 0:96). These correlations were applied in four different streams to predict transport based on the transient storage and the aggregated dead zone models, and two probability distributions (Gumbel and log normal).
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  • González‐Pinzón, R., Haggerty, R., & Dentz, M. (2013). Scaling and predicting solute transport processes in streams. Water Resources Research, 49(7), 4071-4088. doi:10.1002/wrcr.20280
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