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Simulating effects of microtopography on wetland specific yield and hydroperiod

January 1, 2011

Specific yield and hydroperiod have proven to be useful parameters in hydrologic analysis of wetlands. Specific yield is a critical parameter to quantitatively relate hydrologic fluxes (e.g., rainfall, evapotranspiration, and runoff) and water level changes. Hydroperiod measures the temporal variability and frequency of land-surface inundation. Conventionally, hydrologic analyses used these concepts without considering the effects of land surface microtopography and assumed a smoothly-varying land surface. However, these microtopographic effects could result in small-scale variations in land surface inundation and water depth above or below the land surface, which in turn affect ecologic and hydrologic processes of wetlands. The objective of this chapter is to develop a physically-based approach for estimating specific yield and hydroperiod that enables the consideration of microtopographic features of wetlands, and to illustrate the approach at sites in the Florida Everglades. The results indicate that the physically-based approach can better capture the variations of specific yield with water level, in particular when the water level falls between the minimum and maximum land surface elevations. The suggested approach for hydroperiod computation predicted that the wetlands might be completely dry or completely wet much less frequently than suggested by the conventional approach neglecting microtopography. One reasonable generalization may be that the hydroperiod approaches presented in this chapter can be a more accurate prediction tool for water resources management to meet the specific hydroperiod threshold as required by a species of plant or animal of interest.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2011
Title Simulating effects of microtopography on wetland specific yield and hydroperiod
Authors David M. Summer
Publication Type Book Chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Index ID 70157324
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization FLWSC-Orlando