The relation between karst spring discharge and rainfall by cross-correlation analysis (Campania, southern Italy)
The relation between rainfall and the discharge from two springs, located at the base of different karst massifs in southern Italy, is investigated by cross-correlation analyses. Data are derived from a continuous time window of 13 years. The input signal involves multiple rainfall time series (cumulative rainfall over varying time windows), while the time series of daily spring discharges are used as the output signal. Analyses were first conducted on the unprocessed data and then on data for which linear trends and seasonal components had been removed, the latter by a spectral analysis. Analyses contributed to the investigation of the time required for water to flow through the karst aquifers at the two sites. Long time intervals of the cumulative rainfall (>60 days) appear to be the main component affecting the spring discharge hydrographs; shorter time intervals seem to be related to quick-flow paths. Some statistics about the linear regression and the meaning of the cross-correlation analysis are discussed. Cross-correlation analysis can provide strong support for identification of the main rainfall contribution and the travel time through the main infiltration pathways in aquifers.