Response times as explanatory variable for export of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) from small forested catchments

Publikation: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftForschungsartikelBeigetragenBegutachtung



Rising trends in the concentrations of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) are observed in many inland waters, including the headwater catchment of the Große Ohe river in the Bavarian Forest National Park (Germany). During flood events, DOC is mobilized via different hydrological pathways, affecting the hydrochemistry of aquatic ecosystems and the viability of drinking water supply. In our field experiments we observed different phases of DOC mobilization during six intensively studied rainfall-runoff events with contrasting antecedent wetness conditions. We propose response time diagrams to link the different phases of DOC mobilization to different response times along a hillslope-riparian-zone-transect. Depending on the antecedent wetness conditions, the hillslope and riparian zone participated differently to phases of the runoff event and shaped the flow hydrograph and DOC export at the catchment outlet. The hillslope always responded with little time delay to precipitation events regardless of the antecedent wetness condition. In contrast, response times in the riparian zone varied. For wet antecedent conditions we observed little delay between the hillslope- and riparian zone peak response, which caused high peak discharge, fast DOC mobilization and high DOC export from the catchment. In contrast, for dry antecedent conditions, the riparian zone response was significantly lower and much delayed. This led not only to attenuated peak discharge but also to larger time lags between the flow hydrograph- and the DOC concentration peak. The combination of low runoff rates and delayed DOC concentration peaks resulted into lower DOC export from the catchment. Thus, the antecedent wetness condition and response times of the hillslope and riparian zone are important indicators for DOC export in the catchment.


FachzeitschriftJournal of Hydrology
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - Apr. 2024

Externe IDs

Mendeley 973e382c-5429-3b03-8114-769c73fcf6b2
unpaywall 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2024.130985
ORCID /0000-0003-2963-0965/work/155292010
Scopus 85186362923



  • Antecedent wetness conditions, DOC export, Hillslope runoff, Response times, Riparian zones, DOC mobilization