Abstract

Hydrologists are urgently seeking to find a more universal and inexpensive tracer for baseflow separation, and gage height may form an appropriate choice. This study derives the gage height mass balance (GHMB) and gage height power function (GHPF) methods using a two-component mass balance equation based on the relationship between the gage height and streamflow. The GHMB and GHPF methods are corrected by comparing the results of the conductivity mass balance (CMB), conductivity power function (CMBPF), GHMB, and GHPF methods in 20 basins in the United States. Subsequently, the corrected GHMB and GHPF methods are applied to seven other basins. The results indicate that: (1) the baseflow index (BFI) values calculated from the GHMB and GHPF methods are in good agreement with those of conventional methods; (2) the daily baseflow calculated as per the GHMB and GHPF methods can be suitably fitted with the CMB method; (3) the baseflow is significantly suppressed when the flood peak is larger, and deviations between the GHMB, GHPF, and CMB results are mainly observed for flood events with a large flood peak. As a tracer, the gage height can reasonably separate the baseflow, and the results indicate the efficacy of the methods.

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