The impact of heterogeneous flow paths on snowmelt runoff chemistry

TitleThe impact of heterogeneous flow paths on snowmelt runoff chemistry
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference1993
AuthorsMarsh, P., and Pomeroy J. W.
Conference Name61st Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the 61st Annual Western Snow Conference
Date PublishedJune 1993
PublisherWestern Snow Conference
Conference LocationQuebec City, Quebec
KeywordsChemistry, Flow paths

The role of heterogeneous flow paths in determining the chemical composition of meltwater was examined in a field experiment north of Inuvik, NWT. The concentration of major anions were determined for the pre-melt snowcover and for daily flow in 16 separate compartments within a 0.25 m² lysimeter. Daily melt water samples were retained for chemical analysis from four compartments representative of the total range of flows. Early in the melt period the daily flow volume varied from 0.2 to 2.5 times the daily mean flow for the entire lysimeter, while the solute concentrations were typically 2 to 5 times higher in the compartments with low flow than in those with the highest flows. The concentration factors (CF) [ratio of the solute concentration in the flow to initial snowpack solute concentration] early in the melt varied from 1.5 to 10, and then decreased to between 0.1 and 0.5 and after 50% of the melt there was no relationship between flow and concentration.