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Title: Hydrogeologic controls on summer stream temperatures in the McKenzie River basin, Oregon

Author: Tague, Christina; Farrell, Michael; Grant, Gordon; Lewis, Sarah; Rey, Serge

Date: 2007

Source: Hydrological Processes. 21: 3288-3300

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Stream temperature is a complex function of energy inputs including solar radiation and latent and sensible heat transfer. In streams where groundwater inputs are significant, energy input through advection can also be an important control on stream temperature. For an individual stream reach, models of stream temperature can take advantage of direct measurement or estimation of these energy inputs for a given river channel environment. Understanding spatial patterns of stream temperature at a landscape scale requires predicting how this environment varies through space, and under different atmospheric conditions. At the landscape scale, air temperature is often used as a surrogate for the dominant controls on stream temperature. In this study we show that, in regions where groundwater inputs are key controls and the degree of groundwater input varies in space, air temperature alone is unlikely to explain within-landscape stream temperature patterns. We illustrate how a geologic template can offer insight into landscape-scale patterns of stream temperature and its predictability from air temperature relationships. We focus on variation in stream temperature within headwater streams within the McKenzie River basin in western Oregon. In this region, as in other areas of the Pacific Northwest, fish sensitivity to summer stream temperatures continues to be a pressing environmental issue. We show that, within the McKenzie, streams that are sourced from deeper groundwater reservoirs versus shallow subsurface flow systems have distinct summer temperature regimes. Groundwater streams are colder, less variable, and less sensitive to air temperature variation. We use these results from the western Oregon Cascade hydroclimatic regime to illustrate a conceptual framework for developing regional-scale indicators of stream temperature variation that considers the underlying geologic controls on spatial variation, and the relative roles played by energy and water inputs.

Keywords: Geologic template, groundwater, stream temperature, McKenzie River, Oregon Cascades

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Tague, Christina; Farrell, Michael; Grant, Gordon; Lewis, Sarah; Rey, Serge 2007. Hydrogeologic controls on summer stream temperatures in the McKenzie River basin, Oregon. Hydrological Processes. 21: 3288-3300

 


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