Hydrological processes in tropical Australia: Historical perspective and the need for a catchment observatory network to address future development

Duvert, Clement, Lim, Han-She, Irvine, Dylan, Bird, Michael, Bass, Adrian, Tweed, Sarah, Hutley, Lindsay, and Munksgaard, Niels (2022) Hydrological processes in tropical Australia: Historical perspective and the need for a catchment observatory network to address future development. Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies, 43. 101194.

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Abstract

Streams and rivers of the Australian tropics have been the subject of substantial hydrological process research spanning the last 50 years. In this review, we highlight initial efforts to understand the hydrological response of forested ecosystems in the humid tropics, and how this has been more recently followed by work in savannas of the seasonal tropics. We describe recent findings from modelling and tracer studies and derive a framework of dominant hydrological processes for the region. We also detail five critical knowledge gaps that will require further attention with climate change and ongoing interest in development in the region.

New hydrological insights for the region: We outline the diversity of runoff generation mechanisms that prevail in the region and emphasise the role of connected wetlands and floodplains in catchment response. We discuss the prominence of focused, episodic recharge in the replenishment of groundwater stores across the region. We also review how climate change and potential water resource development projects may alter the hydrology of northern Australian catchments. Future research should focus on improving our physical understanding of key hydrological processes, as well as anticipate the likely effects of development and climate change on these processes. Intensive and long-term studies of experimental observatories, which capture the diversity in landscapes and climates of the region, will help frame sustainable water development policies in northern Australia.

Item ID: 75814
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2214-5818
Keywords: Isotopes, Catchment processes, Evapotranspiration, Wet tropics, Wet-dry tropics, Tracer-aided modelling, Research agenda, Interdisciplinary
Copyright Information: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA)
Projects and Grants: DE220100852
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2022 00:26
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4199 Other environmental sciences > 419999 Other environmental sciences not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1803 Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management > 180399 Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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