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Catchment hydrology

We use regular measurements of stable isotopes in rainfall, soil, streamwater and groundwater at several TERENO stations to study the process of runoff generation in forested catchments. The stable isotopes of oxygen and hydrogen (18O and 2H) are natural tracers for meteoric water as it travels on various pathways through catchments to become streamflow.

Based on the stable isotope measurements, we determine Transit Time Distributions (TTDs) to investigate the runoff response to precipitation input depending on the catchment’s characteristics (e.g. soil types, topography, landuse). Furthermore, we investigate the effects of forest canopy interception and deforestation on the transit time distributions. For shorter transit times, the fraction of young water can be derived by comparing the seasonal isotopic patterns in precipitation and streamflow, further enhancing the knowledge about hydrological catchment processes.

Measurement platforms

  • Rainfall and throughfall samplers (Schöneseiffen, Wüstebach, Rollesbroich, Erkensruhr, Im Brand)
  • Automatic streamwater sampler (Wüstebach, Erkensruhr, Rollesbroich)
  • On-site liquid-water isotope analyser at the outlet of the Erkensruhr catchment (in development)

MapMap of the Wüstebach and Erkensruhr catchments showing the throughfall stations

Picarro-PressefotoStable isotope analyser at the Erkensruhr station

Precipitation samplerAutomatic precipitation sampler at the Erkensruhr station


Hrachowitz, M., M. Stockinger, M. Coenders-Gerrits, R. van der Ent, H. Bogena, A. Lücke and C. Stumpp (in review): Deforestation reduces the vegetation-accessible water storage in the unsaturated soil and affects catchment travel time distributions and young water fractions. Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss. [preprint]. DOI:10.5194/hess-2020-293.

Bogena, H.R., M. Stockinger and A. Lücke (2020): Long-term stable water isotope data for the investigation of deforestation effects on the hydrological system of the Wüstebach catchment, Germany. Hydrol. Proc. 35:e14006. DOI:10.1002/hyp.14006

Stockinger, M.P., H.R. Bogena, A. Lücke, C. Stumpp and H. Vereecken (2019): Time-variability of the fraction of young water in a small headwater catchment. Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. 23: 4333–4347. DOI:10.5194/hess-23-4333-2019.

Bogena, H.R., C. Montzka, J.A. Huisman, A. Graf, M. Schmidt, M. Stockinger, C. von Hebel, H.J. Hendricks-Franssen, J. van der Kruk, W. Tappe, A. Lücke, R. Baatz, R. Bol, J. Groh, T. Pütz, J. Jakobi, R. Kunkel, J. Sorg and H. Vereecken (2018): The TERENO-Rur Hydrological Observatory: A Multiscale Multi-compartment Research Platform for the Advancement of Hydrological Science. Vadose Zone J. 17(1): 1-22. DOI:10.2136/vzj2018.03.0055.

Stockinger, M.P., A. Lücke, H. Vereecken and H.R. Bogena (2017): Accounting for seasonal isotopic patterns of forest canopy intercepted precipitation in streamflow modeling. J. Hydrol. 555: 31-40. DOI:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2017.10.003.

Weigand, S., R. Bol, B. Reichert, A. Graf, I. Wiekenkamp, M. Stockinger, A. Lücke, W. Tappe, H. Bogena, T. Pütz, W. Amelung and H. Vereecken (2017): Spatiotemporal dependency of dissolved organic carbon to nitrate in stream- and groundwater of a humid forested catchment – a wavelet transform coherence analysis. Vadose Zone J. 16(3). DOI:10.2136/vzj2016.09.0077

Stockinger, M.P., H.R. Bogena, A. Lücke, B. Diekkrüger, T. Cornelissen and H. Vereecken (2016): Tracer sampling frequency influences estimates of young water fraction and streamwater transit time distribution. J. Hydrol., DOI:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2016.08.007

Bogena, H.R., R. Bol, N. Borchard, N. Brüggemann, B. Diekkrüger, C. Drüe, J. Groh, N. Gottselig, J.A. Huisman, A. Lücke, A. Missong, B. Neuwirth, T. Pütz, M. Schmidt, M. Stockinger, W. Tappe, L. Weihermüller, I. Wiekenkamp and H. Vereecken (2015): A terrestrial observatory approach for the integrated investigation of the effects of deforestation on water, energy, and matter fluxes. Science China: Earth Sciences 58(1): 61-75. DOI:10.1007/s11430-014-4911-7

Stockinger, M.P., A. Lücke, J.J. McDonnell, B. Diekkrüger, H. Vereecken and H.R. Bogena (2015): Interception effects on stable isotope driven streamwater transit time estimates. Geophys. Res. Lett., 42: 5299–5308. DOI:10.1002/ 2015GL064622.

Stockinger, M., H. Bogena, A. Lücke, B. Diekkrüger, M. Weiler and H. Vereecken (2014): Seasonal Soil Moisture Patterns Control Transit Time Distributions in a Forested Headwater Catchment. Water Resour. Res., 50(6): 5270–5289. DOI:10.1002/2013WR014815.


Dr. Heye Bogena
Phone: +49-2461-616752

Dr. Andreas Lücke
Phone: +49-2461-614590