Hydrochemical separation of components of discharge in alpine catchments

TitleHydrochemical separation of components of discharge in alpine catchments
Publication TypeConference Proceedings
Year of Conference1979
AuthorsCollins, D. N., and Young G. J.
Conference Name47th Annual Western Snow Conference
Series TitleProceedings of the 47th Annual Western Snow Conference
Date PublishedApril 1979
PublisherWestern Snow Conference
Conference LocationSparks, Nevada
KeywordsChemical analysis, Glacier runoff, Meltwater

Waters produced from the melting of snow and ice are characterised by low solute contents. According to routing across alpine catchments, some waters are enriched chemically by passing through different hydrochemical environments. Meltstreams draining from the snouts of temperate glaciers exhibit seasonal and diurnal variations of both discharge and solute concentration, determined by the variable proportions of total flow from different sources which have followed different routes within the basin.Electrical conductivity, used to characterise meltwater hydrochemistry, was monitored continuously to provide detailed records of temporal variations of water quality. Proportions of flow routed through different hydrochemical environments can be calculated from simple mixing models using water quality diagnostics. Temporal variations of calculated components of total discharge defined by flow routing provide an indication of runoff formation from water rapidly traversing the catchment after melting and that delayed in transit as a result of storage within snowpack and glacier.