Impact of seasonality on artificial drainage discharge under temperate climate conditions
Artificial drainage systems affect all components of the water and matter balance. For the proper simulation of water and solute fluxes, information is needed about artificial drainage discharge rates and their response times. However, there is relatively little information available about the response of artificial drainage systems to precipitation. To address this need, we analyzed 11 datasets from artificial drainage study sites (daily or hourly resolution), one daily dataset from an open ditch system, and three datasets from rainfall simulations on tile-drained fields. When we considered all 11 artificial drainage study sites, we found that artificial drainage discharge responded to 70% of all rainfall events during the year, and that the response rate differed significantly between 56% summer and 84% in winter. A median of 23% of the yearly precipitation rate is discharged by artificial drainage systems, varying from 9% of the precipitation in summer to 54% of the precipitation in winter. The artificial drainage systems usually started to respond within the first hour under rain fed conditions, and the response time increased at lower rainfall intensities ( < 1 mm h–1). The peak outflow normally occurred within the first two days. The influence of soil texture and land use on artificial drainage discharge rates could not be reproduced properly, due to the spatial high variability caused by other site-specific properties.