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Title: Hydrology of the Glenn Creek watershed, Tanana River Basin, central Alaska
Authors: Dingman, S. L.
Keywords: Alaska
Frozen ground
Frozen soils
Soil properties
Stream flow
River basins
Glenn Creek, Alaska
Tanana River Basin, Alaska
Publisher: Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (U.S.)
Engineer Research and Development Center (U.S.)
Series/Report no.: Research report (Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (U.S.)) ; 297.
Description: Research Report
Abstract: The results of a four-summer (1964-1967) hydrologic study of the watershed of Glenn Creek, about 8 miles north of Fairbanks, Alaska, in the Yukon-Tanana uplands physiographic province, are presented. This work was initiated to provide initial baseline hydrologic data for a small subar ctic watershed, the first of its kind in North America. Standard hydrologic and meteorologic instrumentation was used, and streamflow characteristics were analyzed by standard hydrograph-analysis techniques. The stream is second-order, and drains an area of 0.70 square mile. Basin elevations are from 842 ft to 1618 ft. In regard to topography, geology, soils, permafrost, vegetation, and climate, the watershed seems to be representative of low-order, low-elevation drainage basins in the province. Analysis of rainfall-runoff data indicates that about half the 12.3-in. normal annual precipitation is runoff. The remainder is the actual evapotranspiration , which equals only about 30% of estimated potential evapotranspiration. For individual storms, runoff/rainfall proportions were from 0.03 to 0.42 and were positively correlated with antecedent discharge of the stream, which is a measure of watershed wetness. The stream responds rapidly to rainstorms except when the basin is very dry, and has markedly slow recessions compared with temperate region streams of similar size. Rate of recessions is apparentlv controlled by concurrent evapotranspiration rates. Analysis of hydrographs and knowledge of the physical characteristics of the basin indicate that storm runoff occurs initially as surface runoff from bare soil areas adjacent to the stream, while recessions are dominated by a combination of tunnel flow beneath moss-covered parts of the basins and typical groundwater flow through the moss and soils. Peak discharges for individual storms could be well estimated by an equation including antecedent discharge, total precipitation and storm duration, and average recession constant. These results represent the first detailed hydrologic data from the discontinuous permafrost zone of the North American taiga and should be of significance to the International Hydrological Decade and International Biological Program.
Appears in Collections:CRREL Research Report

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