Assessing urbanization impacts on catchment transit times

Chris Soulsby, Christian Birkel, Doerthe Tetzlaff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Stable isotopes have potential for assessing the hydrologic impacts of urbanization, although it is unclear whether established methods of isotope modeling translate to such disturbed environments. We tested two transit time modeling approaches (using a gamma distribution and a two-parallel linear reservoir (TPLR) model) in a rapidly urbanizing catchment. Isotopic variability in precipitation was damped in streams with attenuation inversely correlated with urban cover. The models captured this reasonably well, although the TPLR better represented the integrated dual response of urban and nonurban areas with reduced uncertainty. Percent urban cover influenced the shape of the catchment transit time distribution. Total urban cover reduced the mean transit time to 4years for nonurban sites.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)442-448
Number of pages7
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • urban hydrology
  • tracers
  • isotopes
  • transit times
  • cumulative impacts


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