Temporal dynamics of soil water balance components in a karst range in southeastern Spain: estimation of potential recharge
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Hydrological sciences journal. - Oxford
, p. 737-753
University of Antwerp
This paper analyses the temporal dynamics of soil water balance components in a representative recharge area of the Sierra de Gaacutedor (Almeria, southeastern Spain) in two hydrological years. Two approaches are used to estimate daily potential recharge (PR): Approach 1 based on deriving PR from the water balance as the difference between measurements of rainfall (P) and actual evapotranspiration (E) obtained by eddy covariance; and Approach 2 with PR obtained from the dynamic pattern of the soil moisture (θ) recorded at two depths in the site's thin soil (average 0.35 m thickess). For the hydrological year 2003/04, which was slightly drier than the 30-year average, E accounted for 64% of rainfall and occurred mainly in late spring and early summer. The PR estimated by Approach 1 was 181 ± 18 mm year-1 (36% of rainfall), suggesting an effective groundwater recharge in the study area. In the unusually dry hydrological year 2004/05, E was about 215 mm year-1, close to the annual rainfall input, and allowing very little (8 ± 12 mm year-1) PR according to Approach 1. Estimation of PR based on Approach 2 resulted in PR rates lower than those found by Approach 1, because Approach 2 does not take into account the recharge that occurs through preferential flow pathways (cracks, joints and fissures) which were not monitored with the θ probes. Moreover, using Approach 2, the PR estimates differed widely depending on the time scale considered: with daily mean θ data, PR estimation was lower, especially in late spring, while θ data at 30 min resolution yielded a more reliable prediction of the fraction of total PR resulting from the downward movement of soil water by gravity.