Among the advances made in analytical and numerical analysis methods to quantify groundwater/surface-water interaction, one methodology that stands out is the use of heat as an environmental tracer. A large data set of river and riverbed temperature profiles from the Aa River in Belgium has been used to examine the spatial-temporal variations of groundwater/surface-water interaction. Exchange fluxes were calculated with the numerical heat-transport code STRIVE. The code was applied in transient mode to overcome previous limitations of steady-state analysis, and allowed for the calculation of model quality. In autumn and winter the mean exchange fluxes reached −90 mm d−1, while in spring and early summer fluxes were −42 mm d−1. Predominantly gaining conditions occurred along the river reach; however, in a few areas the direction of flow changed in time. The river banks showed elevated fluxes up to a factor of 3 compared to the center of the river. Higher fluxes were detected in the upstream section of the reach. Due to the influence of exchange fluxes along the river banks, larger temporal variations were found in the downstream section. The exchange fluxes at the river banks seemed more driven by variable local exchange flows, while the center of the river was dominated by deep and steady regional groundwater flows. These spatial and temporal differences in groundwater/surface-water exchange show the importance of long-term investigations on the driving forces of hyporheic processes across different scales.
- Groundwater/surface-water relations
- Thermal conditions
- Inverse modeling