Wednesday, 31 January 2018

January snow survey

Today four members joined me for their first experience of snowshoeing and snow survey. Conditions were tough with heavy wet snow falling throughout the day, after a two week period of relatively heavy snowfall. We took 20 measurements in the larch stand to give the following mean values. Compared with recent years, the snowpack is relatively large.

Snow survey (Larch stand)
Depth: 112 cm
Density: 0.275
Snow water equivalent: 30.8 cm

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Autumn rains bring higher baseflows

The hydrograph above shows the typical situation in autumn season when more frequent rainfalls and decreasing evapotranspiration leads to rising levels of baseflow. The interval between the rainfall events is becoming shorter, and note how the baseflow in between events is steadily rising. The baseflow level will remain high into December, only decreasing once the temperatures drop sufficiently for precipitation to change from rainfall to snowfall.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Stage recorder battery change

Early autumn is a good season for the annual change of the batteries in the Kadec stage recorders (main river and tributary sites). Cold winter temperatures are hard on batteries, but this way we enter the winter season with fresh batteries. I also did the bi-monthly download of the Hobo stage recorder, which acts as a back-up stage recorder on the main river. Again, very close agreement between the two stage recording systems which is always very reassuring (upper hydrograph). The lower recent hydrograph data shows mainly low flow conditions from late September into October.

Friday, 22 September 2017

First discharge measurement

Today I am joined by some new faces in the field - for three of our members it is the first time to make a discharge measurement. Our measurement is very important in establishing the new stage-rating curve after the channel degradation during summer floods. As shown in the stage hydrograph below, the recent 11 days have been mostly low flows with minor rainfall events.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Late summer low flows

A series of storm events during late August led to multiple peaks in the stage hydrograph shown below, the highest peak reaching almost 1.4 metres. September is normally a season of late summer low flows when the annual minimum daily flows are often recorded. Aggradation and accumulation of sediment in the gauging reach occurred in early summer floods, but these recent floods have led to net removal of sediment and deepening of the channel in the gauging reach. Changes in the stage-rating curve need to be closely monitored to maintain accuracy in discharge estimation.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Change in stage-rating curve?

The 587 mm of rainfall for July was the second highest monthly precipitation since records began in 1981. The highest recorded was 639 mm for July 2013. Although the maximum flood stage and peak discharge was not particularly high last month (1.26 m, 30 m3/s at 11:30 on 24 July), the hydrograph shows multiple peaks around 1.0-1.2 m stage.

Comparing the measured discharge with the estimated discharge from the stage-rating curve, we find a discrepancy of about 25%. The discharge is 25% higher than we expect from using the current stage-rating curve, indicating degradation of the channel during the floods of 24 July. The removal of the sediment deposited from the tributary channel earlier in July is also evidence of likely channel degradation. Further discharge measurements are needed in the near future to confirm this change in the stage-rating curve.

Young hydrologist - first discharge measurement (Grade 4)

Friday, 21 July 2017

587 mm of rainfall in July

This July has had more than twice the usual rainfall, with 587 mm at the Miomote Amedas Station compared to an average of 263 mm (1981-2010). Maximum daily precipitation was 119 mm on July 24, and maximum hourly precipitation was 48 mm on July 18th. While the above hydrograph only shows data until July 21, it shows that the rainfall did not produce any particularly large floods. Instead there were multiple floods and peaks with a moderate stage of 0.8 m to 1.1 m.

The above two photographs show the water to be running very clear. However, the intense and localized storm of July 18 (max. 48 mm/h) seems to have been centered in the tributary basin which joins the main stem of Takiya River by the bridge abutment shown in the photographs below. There is a large accumulation of bedload sediment at the confluence below the bridge as the main stem did not appear to have the flow required to transport the sediment downstream.