|Kurzbeschreibung||This course presents a process-based view of the hydrology, biogeochemistry, and geomorphology of mountain streams. Students learn how to integrate process knowledge, data, and models to understand how landscapes regulate the fluxes of water, sediment, nutrients, and pollutants in streams, and to anticipate how streams will respond to changes in land use, atmospheric deposition, and climate.|
|Inhalt||Streams are integrated monitors of the health and functioning of their surrounding landscapes. Streams integrate the fluxes of water, solutes, and sediment from their contributing catchment area; thus they reflect the spatially integrated hydrological, ecophysiological, biogeochemical, and geomorphological processes in the surrounding landscape. At a practical level, there is a significant public interest in managing forested upland landscapes to provide a reliable supply of high-quality surface water and to minimize the risk of catastrophic flooding and debris flows, but the scientific background for such management advice is still evolving. |
Using a combination of lectures, field exercises, and data analysis, we explore the processes controlling the delivery of water, solutes, and sediment to streams, and how those processes are affected by changes in land cover, land use, and climate. We review the connections between process understanding and predictive modeling in these complex environmental systems. How well can we understand the processes controlling watershed-scale phenomena, and what uncertainties are unavoidable? What are the relative advantages of top-down versus bottom-up approaches? How much can "black box" analyses reveal about what is happening inside the black box? Conversely, can small-scale, micro-mechanistic approaches be successfully "scaled up" to predict whole-watershed behavior? Practical problems to be considered include the effects of land use, atmospheric deposition, and climate on streamflow, water quality, and sediment dynamics, illustrated with data from experimental watersheds in North America, Scandinavia, and Europe.