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Title: Effects of Successive Peak Flow Events on Hyporheic Exchange and Residence Times

Hyporheic exchange is a crucial control of the type and rates of streambed biogeochemical processes, including metabolism, respiration, nutrient turnover, and the transformation of pollutants. Previous work has shown that increasing discharge during an individual peak flow event strengthens biogeochemical turnover by enhancing the exchange of water and dissolved solutes. However, due to the nonsteady nature of the exchange process, successive peak flow events do not exhibit proportional variations in residence time and turnover, and in some cases, can reduce the hyporheic zones' biogeochemical potential. Here, we used a process‐based model to explore the role of successive peak flow events on the flow and transport characteristics of bedform‐induced hyporheic exchange. We conducted a systematic analysis of the impacts of the events' magnitude, duration, and time between peaks in the hyporheic zone's fluxes, penetration, and residence times. The relative contribution of each event to the transport of solutes across the sediment‐water interface was inferred from transport simulations of a conservative solute. In addition to temporal variations in the hyporheic flow field, our results demonstrate that the separation between two events determines the temporal evolution of residence time and that event time lags longer than the memory of the system result in successive events that can be treated independently. This study highlights the importance of discharge variability in the dynamics of hyporheic exchange and its potential implications for biogeochemical transformations and fate of contaminants along river corridors.

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DOI PREFIX: 10.1029
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Journal Name:
Water Resources Research
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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