Karst spring recession and classification: efficient, automated methods for both fast- and slow-flow components

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review



Analysis of karst spring recession hydrographs is essential for determining hydraulic parameters, geometric characteristics, and transfer mechanisms that describe the dynamic nature of karst aquifer systems. The extraction and separation of different fast- and slow-flow components constituting a karst spring recession hydrograph typically involve manual and subjective procedures. This subjectivity introduces a bias that exists, while manual procedures can introduce errors into the derived parameters representing the system. To provide an alternative recession extraction procedure that is automated, fully objective, and easy to apply, we modified traditional streamflow extraction methods to identify components relevant for karst spring recession analysis. Mangin's karst-specific recession analysis model was fitted to individual extracted recession segments to determine matrix and conduit recession parameters. We introduced different parameter optimization approaches into Mangin's model to increase the degree of freedom, thereby allowing for more parameter interaction. The modified recession extraction and parameter optimization approaches were tested on three karst springs under different climate conditions. Our results showed that the modified extraction methods are capable of distinguishing different recession components and derived parameters that reasonably represent the analyzed karst systems. We recorded an average Kling-Gupta efficiency KGE > 0.85 among all recession events simulated by the recession parameters derived from all combinations of recession extraction methods and parameter optimization approaches. While there are variabilities among parameters estimated by different combinations of extraction methods, optimization approaches, and seasons, we found much higher variability among individual recession events. We provided suggestions to reduce the uncertainty among individual recession events and raised questions about how to improve confidence in the system's attributes derived from recession parameters.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5431-5447
Number of pages17
JournalHydrology and earth system sciences
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2022

External IDs

Scopus 85142654787
Mendeley 799da6b0-7cf4-31f2-9551-aa4efad42fac
unpaywall 10.5194/hess-26-5431-2022