Analysis of a monsoon flood event in an ephemeral tributary and its downstream hydrologic effects

Enrique Vivoni, Robert S. Bowman, Robert L. Wyckoff, Ryan T. Jakubowski, Kate E. Richards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Despite existing observational networks, large-scale flooding events in semiarid regions are poorly understood because of their infrequent occurrence and the lack of studies directed at quantifying their basic characteristics. Given the ephemeral nature of semiarid basins, large floods are critical events which can cause significant exchanges of water, sediment, and nutrients across the surface-groundwater interface. Our major objective in this study is to quantify the meteorological characteristics, watershed runoff response, and surface-groundwater interactions arising from a summer monsoon flood event in the Rio Puerco and its downstream hydrologic effects in the Rio Grande. Results indicate that only 3.6% of the storm rainfall resulted in tributary runoff which led to a propagating flood wave in the Rio Grande. Along the main river reach we compute that 49% of the flood volume was lost to the shallow aquifer, with the remainder entering a downstream reservoir. Surface-groundwater interactions were further tracked in a network of shallow wells, suggesting significant changes in groundwater level, ranging from 0.05 to 0.6 m, along and across the river. The results of this study demonstrate the widespread effects of large-scale monsoon events in semiarid regions and serve as a basis for improved process understanding and modeling. On the basis of our observations we present a conceptual model of the generation, propagation, and attenuation of large floods in semiarid tributaries and main stem rivers during the North American monsoon. These linked processes have not been previously documented in a comprehensive manner in the American Southwest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberW03404
JournalWater Resources Research
Volume42
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2006
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

tributary
monsoon
Groundwater
groundwater
semiarid region
Rivers
Runoff
rivers
river
runoff
flood wave
Southwestern United States
Watersheds
Aquifers
flooding
aquifers
Nutrients
stem
water table
aquifer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology

Cite this

Analysis of a monsoon flood event in an ephemeral tributary and its downstream hydrologic effects. / Vivoni, Enrique; Bowman, Robert S.; Wyckoff, Robert L.; Jakubowski, Ryan T.; Richards, Kate E.

In: Water Resources Research, Vol. 42, No. 3, W03404, 03.2006.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Vivoni, Enrique ; Bowman, Robert S. ; Wyckoff, Robert L. ; Jakubowski, Ryan T. ; Richards, Kate E. / Analysis of a monsoon flood event in an ephemeral tributary and its downstream hydrologic effects. In: Water Resources Research. 2006 ; Vol. 42, No. 3.
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