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Toward catchment hydro-biogeochemical theories

Li, Li and Sullivan, Pamela L. and Benettin, Paolo and Cirpka, Olaf A. and Bishop, Kevin and Brantley, Susan L. and Knapp, Julia L. A. and van Meerveld, Ilja and Rinaldo, Andrea and Seibert, Jan and Wen, Hang and Kirchner, James W. (2021). Toward catchment hydro-biogeochemical theories. WIREs Water. 8 , e1495
[Research article]

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Abstract

Headwater catchments are the fundamental units that connect the land to the ocean. Hydrological flow and biogeochemical processes are intricately coupled, yet their respective sciences have progressed without much integration. Reaction kinetic theories that prescribe rate dependence on environmental variables (e.g., temperature and water content) have advanced substantially, mostly in well-mixed reactors, columns, and warming experiments without considering the characteristics of hydrological flow at the catchment scale. These theories have shown significant divergence from observations in natural systems. On the other hand, hydrological theories, including transit time theory, have progressed substantially yet have not been incorporated into understanding reactions at the catchment scale. Here we advocate for the development of integrated hydro-biogeochemical theories across gradients of climate, vegetation, and geology conditions. The lack of such theories presents barriers for understanding mechanisms and forecasting the future of the Critical Zone under human- and climate-induced perturbations. Although integration has started and co-located measurements are well under way, tremendous challenges remain. In particular, even in this era of "big data," we are still limited by data and will need to (1) intensify measurements beyond river channels and characterize the vertical connectivity and broadly the shallow and deep subsurface; (2) expand to older water dating beyond the time scales reflected in stable water isotopes; (3) combine the use of reactive solutes, nonreactive tracers, and isotopes; and (4) augment measurements in environments that are undergoing rapid changes. To develop integrated theories, it is essential to (1) engage models at all stages to develop model-informed data collection strategies and to maximize data usage; (2) adopt a "simple but not simplistic," or fit-for-purpose approach to include essential processes in process-based models; (3) blend the use of process-based and data-driven models in the framework of "theory-guided data science." Within the framework of hypothesis testing, model-data fusion can advance integrated theories that mechanistically link catchments' internal structures and external drivers to their functioning. It can not only advance the field of hydro-biogeochemistry, but also enable hind- and fore-casting and serve the society at large. Broadly, future education will need to cultivate thinkers at the intersections of traditional disciplines with hollistic approaches for understanding interacting processes in complex earth systems.This article is categorized under:Science of Water > Methods

Authors/Creators:Li, Li and Sullivan, Pamela L. and Benettin, Paolo and Cirpka, Olaf A. and Bishop, Kevin and Brantley, Susan L. and Knapp, Julia L. A. and van Meerveld, Ilja and Rinaldo, Andrea and Seibert, Jan and Wen, Hang and Kirchner, James W.
Title:Toward catchment hydro-biogeochemical theories
Series Name/Journal:WIREs Water
Year of publishing :2021
Volume:8
Article number:e1495
Number of Pages:31
Publisher:WILEY
ISSN:2049-1948
Language:English
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 105 Earth and Related Environmental Sciences > Geochemistry
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 105 Earth and Related Environmental Sciences > Oceanography, Hydrology, Water Resources
Keywords:biogeochemistry, catchment science, critical zone, transit time, shallow and deep hypothesis
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-109736
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-109736
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.1002/wat2.1495
Web of Science (WoS)000595274300001
ID Code:21231
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Aquatic Sciences and Assessment
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:14 Jan 2021 15:43
Metadata Last Modified:14 Jan 2021 15:51

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