The influence of climate and permafrost on catchment hydrology

Detta är en avhandling från Stockholm : Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University

Sammanfattning: The cycling of water in the landscape is influenced by climate change on different time scales and in different directions regarding warming or cooling trends. Along with a changing climate, also the landscape and subsurface conditions, such as permafrost extent, may change in a long-term perspective. Permafrost and hydrology are intimately connected but the interactions between them are poorly understood, and the hydrological response to climate change is complex. The first part of this thesis investigates the effects of different drivers of future changes in hydrological flow and water storage components in the present day temperate Forsmark catchment in Sweden. The role of taliks and their influence on the exchange of deep and shallow groundwater in permafrost environments are also studied. This is done by a simulation sequence where the site is exposed to the landscape, climate and permafrost changes expected from site-specific numerical modeling. In the second part of this thesis, present day periglacial hydrological processes are studied in the Two Boat Lake catchment in western Greenland by field and model investigations of the site. The presence of a through talik below the Two Boat Lake, and data from a deep bedrock borehole into the talik, enable studies of the hydrological interactions between the lake and the talik. The spatial and temporal variability of the different water balance components of the catchment are quantified and the interactions between the surface water and the supra- and sub-permafrost groundwater are analyzed.The results show that the investigated changes in climate and permafrost influence hydrology more than the investigated landscape changes. Under permafrost conditions, the general direction of the exchange between deep and shallow groundwater may change relative to unfrozen conditions. The simulation studies of Forsmark show that the relative topography between taliks governs the recharging and discharging conditions, which is consistent with results from Two Boat Lake. The lake is located at high altitude relative to other taliks and hydraulic measurements indicate recharging conditions. The talik recharge is small compared to other water balance components and does not influence the lake level, which instead is found to be controlled by evapotranspiration and water inflow from the active layer. This is concluded from numerical simulations that take into account and combine evapotranspiration with other surface and subsurface hydrological processes. This thesis highlights the need to integrate surface and subsurface process modelling in order to quantitatively understand and represent the dynamics and complexity of hydrological interactions in periglacial catchments.