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Paired Air and Stream Temperature Analysis (PASTA) to evaluate groundwater influence on streams

April 6, 2023

Groundwater is critical for maintaining stream baseflow and thermal stability; however, the influence of groundwater on streamflow has been difficult to evaluate at broad spatial scales. Techniques such as baseflow separation necessitate streamflow records and do not directly indicate whether groundwater inflow may be sourced from more dynamic shallow flowpaths. We present a web tool application PASTA (Paired Air and Stream Temperature Analysis; that capitalizes on increased public stream temperature data availability and large-scale, gridded climate observations to provide new and efficient insights regarding relative groundwater influence on streams. PASTA analyzes paired air and stream water temperature signals to evaluate spatiotemporal patterns in stream thermal sensitivity and relative groundwater influence, including inference regarding the dominant source groundwater depth (shallow or deep (i.e., approximately >6 m depth)). The tool is linked to publicly available stream temperature datasets and accepts user-uploaded datasets. As local air temperature is not often monitored, PASTA pulls daily air temperature data from the comprehensive Daymet products when directly measured data are unavailable, allowing the repurposing of existing stream temperature data. After data are selected or uploaded, the tool (a) fits sinusoidal curves of daily stream and air temperatures by year (water or calendar) to indicate groundwater influence characteristics and (b) performs linear regressions for stream versus air temperatures to indicate stream thermal sensitivity. Results are exported in ASCII file format, creating an efficient and approachable analysis tool for the adoption of newly developed heat tracing analysis from stream reach to landscape scales.

Publication Year 2023
Title Paired Air and Stream Temperature Analysis (PASTA) to evaluate groundwater influence on streams
DOI 10.1029/2022WR033912
Authors Danielle K. Hare, Susanne A. Benz, Barret L. Kurylyk, Zachary Johnson, Neil Terry, Ashley M. Helton
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Water Resources Research
Index ID 70243009
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Leetown Science Center; New York Water Science Center