Thursday, February 27, 2014, 4:30PM - 5:30PM
RL-3 room 248
The critical zone is the life-sustaining interface between the earth’s crust and the atmosphere, which extends from the top of the tree canopy to the base of groundwater. The functioning and evolution of the critical zone are the result of a complex system of interactions between soil, rock, water, biota, and the atmosphere. Water is the primary driver of geochemical reactions and an important transport mechanism for elements and nutrients through the critical zone. Thus, mechanisms of water delivery to catchments has important implications for critical zone function. The transition line between snowpack-dominated watersheds and rain-dominated watersheds could shift upwards in elevation in the Colorado Front Range in response to changing climate. Element fluxes and streamflow sources will be presented from a watershed in the Colorado Front Range that is situated at the current rain-snow transition. Possible changes in element fluxes and streamflow generation mechanisms resulting from a shift in snow- to rain-dominated hydrology will be discussed.