Shallow bedrock limits groundwater seepage-based headwater climate refugia

Martin A. Briggs, John W. Lane, Craig D. Snyder, Eric A. White, Zachary C. Johnson, David L. Nelms, Nathaniel P. Hitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Groundwater/surface-water exchanges in streams are inexorably linked to adjacent aquifer dynamics. As surface-water temperatures continue to increase with climate warming, refugia created by groundwater connectivity is expected to enable cold water fish species to survive. The shallow alluvial aquifers that source groundwater seepage to headwater streams, however, may also be sensitive to seasonal and long-term air temperature dynamics. Depth to bedrock can directly influence shallow aquifer flow and thermal sensitivity, but is typically ill-defined along the stream corridor in steep mountain catchments. We employ rapid, cost-effective passive seismic measurements to evaluate the variable thickness of the shallow colluvial and alluvial aquifer sediments along a headwater stream supporting cold water-dependent brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) in Shenandoah National Park, VA, USA. Using a mean depth to bedrock of 2.6 m, numerical models predicted strong sensitivity of shallow aquifer temperature to the downward propagation of surface heat. The annual temperature dynamics (annual signal amplitude attenuation and phase shift) of potential seepage sourced from the shallow modeled aquifer were compared to several years of paired observed stream and air temperature records. Annual stream water temperature patterns were found to lag local air temperature by ∼8–19 d along the stream corridor, indicating that thermal exchange between the stream and shallow groundwater is spatially variable. Locations with greater annual signal phase lag were also associated with locally increased amplitude attenuation, further suggestion of year-round buffering of channel water temperature by groundwater seepage. Numerical models of shallow groundwater temperature that incorporate regional expected climate warming trends indicate that the summer cooling capacity of this groundwater seepage will be reduced over time, and lower-elevation stream sections may no longer serve as larger-scale climate refugia for cold water fish species, even with strong groundwater discharge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-156
Number of pages15
JournalLimnologica
Volume68
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2018

Fingerprint

bedrock
seepage
refugium
refuge habitats
headwater
groundwater
climate
aquifers
aquifer
cold water
air temperature
water temperature
Salvelinus fontinalis
global warming
warming
surface water
heat
temperature
water
water exchange

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aquatic Science

Cite this

Briggs, M. A., Lane, J. W., Snyder, C. D., White, E. A., Johnson, Z. C., Nelms, D. L., & Hitt, N. P. (2018). Shallow bedrock limits groundwater seepage-based headwater climate refugia. Limnologica, 68, 142-156. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.limno.2017.02.005
Briggs, Martin A. ; Lane, John W. ; Snyder, Craig D. ; White, Eric A. ; Johnson, Zachary C. ; Nelms, David L. ; Hitt, Nathaniel P. / Shallow bedrock limits groundwater seepage-based headwater climate refugia. In: Limnologica. 2018 ; Vol. 68. pp. 142-156.
@article{711aaf3d1b5347a2a377da43b7942e74,
title = "Shallow bedrock limits groundwater seepage-based headwater climate refugia",
abstract = "Groundwater/surface-water exchanges in streams are inexorably linked to adjacent aquifer dynamics. As surface-water temperatures continue to increase with climate warming, refugia created by groundwater connectivity is expected to enable cold water fish species to survive. The shallow alluvial aquifers that source groundwater seepage to headwater streams, however, may also be sensitive to seasonal and long-term air temperature dynamics. Depth to bedrock can directly influence shallow aquifer flow and thermal sensitivity, but is typically ill-defined along the stream corridor in steep mountain catchments. We employ rapid, cost-effective passive seismic measurements to evaluate the variable thickness of the shallow colluvial and alluvial aquifer sediments along a headwater stream supporting cold water-dependent brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) in Shenandoah National Park, VA, USA. Using a mean depth to bedrock of 2.6 m, numerical models predicted strong sensitivity of shallow aquifer temperature to the downward propagation of surface heat. The annual temperature dynamics (annual signal amplitude attenuation and phase shift) of potential seepage sourced from the shallow modeled aquifer were compared to several years of paired observed stream and air temperature records. Annual stream water temperature patterns were found to lag local air temperature by ∼8–19 d along the stream corridor, indicating that thermal exchange between the stream and shallow groundwater is spatially variable. Locations with greater annual signal phase lag were also associated with locally increased amplitude attenuation, further suggestion of year-round buffering of channel water temperature by groundwater seepage. Numerical models of shallow groundwater temperature that incorporate regional expected climate warming trends indicate that the summer cooling capacity of this groundwater seepage will be reduced over time, and lower-elevation stream sections may no longer serve as larger-scale climate refugia for cold water fish species, even with strong groundwater discharge.",
author = "Briggs, {Martin A.} and Lane, {John W.} and Snyder, {Craig D.} and White, {Eric A.} and Johnson, {Zachary C.} and Nelms, {David L.} and Hitt, {Nathaniel P.}",
year = "2018",
month = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.limno.2017.02.005",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "68",
pages = "142--156",
journal = "Limnologica",
issn = "0075-9511",
publisher = "Urban und Fischer Verlag Jena",

}

Briggs, MA, Lane, JW, Snyder, CD, White, EA, Johnson, ZC, Nelms, DL & Hitt, NP 2018, 'Shallow bedrock limits groundwater seepage-based headwater climate refugia', Limnologica, vol. 68, pp. 142-156. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.limno.2017.02.005

Shallow bedrock limits groundwater seepage-based headwater climate refugia. / Briggs, Martin A.; Lane, John W.; Snyder, Craig D.; White, Eric A.; Johnson, Zachary C.; Nelms, David L.; Hitt, Nathaniel P.

In: Limnologica, Vol. 68, 01.2018, p. 142-156.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Shallow bedrock limits groundwater seepage-based headwater climate refugia

AU - Briggs, Martin A.

AU - Lane, John W.

AU - Snyder, Craig D.

AU - White, Eric A.

AU - Johnson, Zachary C.

AU - Nelms, David L.

AU - Hitt, Nathaniel P.

PY - 2018/1

Y1 - 2018/1

N2 - Groundwater/surface-water exchanges in streams are inexorably linked to adjacent aquifer dynamics. As surface-water temperatures continue to increase with climate warming, refugia created by groundwater connectivity is expected to enable cold water fish species to survive. The shallow alluvial aquifers that source groundwater seepage to headwater streams, however, may also be sensitive to seasonal and long-term air temperature dynamics. Depth to bedrock can directly influence shallow aquifer flow and thermal sensitivity, but is typically ill-defined along the stream corridor in steep mountain catchments. We employ rapid, cost-effective passive seismic measurements to evaluate the variable thickness of the shallow colluvial and alluvial aquifer sediments along a headwater stream supporting cold water-dependent brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) in Shenandoah National Park, VA, USA. Using a mean depth to bedrock of 2.6 m, numerical models predicted strong sensitivity of shallow aquifer temperature to the downward propagation of surface heat. The annual temperature dynamics (annual signal amplitude attenuation and phase shift) of potential seepage sourced from the shallow modeled aquifer were compared to several years of paired observed stream and air temperature records. Annual stream water temperature patterns were found to lag local air temperature by ∼8–19 d along the stream corridor, indicating that thermal exchange between the stream and shallow groundwater is spatially variable. Locations with greater annual signal phase lag were also associated with locally increased amplitude attenuation, further suggestion of year-round buffering of channel water temperature by groundwater seepage. Numerical models of shallow groundwater temperature that incorporate regional expected climate warming trends indicate that the summer cooling capacity of this groundwater seepage will be reduced over time, and lower-elevation stream sections may no longer serve as larger-scale climate refugia for cold water fish species, even with strong groundwater discharge.

AB - Groundwater/surface-water exchanges in streams are inexorably linked to adjacent aquifer dynamics. As surface-water temperatures continue to increase with climate warming, refugia created by groundwater connectivity is expected to enable cold water fish species to survive. The shallow alluvial aquifers that source groundwater seepage to headwater streams, however, may also be sensitive to seasonal and long-term air temperature dynamics. Depth to bedrock can directly influence shallow aquifer flow and thermal sensitivity, but is typically ill-defined along the stream corridor in steep mountain catchments. We employ rapid, cost-effective passive seismic measurements to evaluate the variable thickness of the shallow colluvial and alluvial aquifer sediments along a headwater stream supporting cold water-dependent brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) in Shenandoah National Park, VA, USA. Using a mean depth to bedrock of 2.6 m, numerical models predicted strong sensitivity of shallow aquifer temperature to the downward propagation of surface heat. The annual temperature dynamics (annual signal amplitude attenuation and phase shift) of potential seepage sourced from the shallow modeled aquifer were compared to several years of paired observed stream and air temperature records. Annual stream water temperature patterns were found to lag local air temperature by ∼8–19 d along the stream corridor, indicating that thermal exchange between the stream and shallow groundwater is spatially variable. Locations with greater annual signal phase lag were also associated with locally increased amplitude attenuation, further suggestion of year-round buffering of channel water temperature by groundwater seepage. Numerical models of shallow groundwater temperature that incorporate regional expected climate warming trends indicate that the summer cooling capacity of this groundwater seepage will be reduced over time, and lower-elevation stream sections may no longer serve as larger-scale climate refugia for cold water fish species, even with strong groundwater discharge.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85015439427&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85015439427&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.limno.2017.02.005

DO - 10.1016/j.limno.2017.02.005

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85015439427

VL - 68

SP - 142

EP - 156

JO - Limnologica

JF - Limnologica

SN - 0075-9511

ER -

Briggs MA, Lane JW, Snyder CD, White EA, Johnson ZC, Nelms DL et al. Shallow bedrock limits groundwater seepage-based headwater climate refugia. Limnologica. 2018 Jan;68:142-156. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.limno.2017.02.005