As far as the effects of antecedent precipitation are concerned, APR did not improve the coefficients of determination of the fits when this factor was included in the MLR model (Table 6). Only in Casal das Hortas (c_18) was the increase in adj. R 2 substantial (from 0.38 to 0.51). In addition, APR presented a significance P > 0.05 in six catchments (38%; Table 6): Aixola (c_3), Latxaga (c_4), Araguás1 (c_6), Puente Genil (c_11), San Salvador (c_14), and Corbeira (c_16). With the exception of Corbeira (c_16), the channel mean slopes of those catchments were larger than 7%, which may indicate steeper slopes and shallower soils and a reduced influence of these variables on runoff generation. It is worth noting that the patterns of runoff generation must be controlled by local physical factors (different from APR) whose spatial variability determines the response in the outlet. Schnabel and Gómez-Gutiérrez (2013) mentioned the importance of soil moisture in the valley bottoms as a key factor to understand the hydrological behavior of Parapuños (c_15). The different response patterns of the catchments such as Araguas1 (c_6) and Araguas2 (c_17) also illustrate the need for specific analysis of the catchments to describe their hydrological behaviour.
Although APR must have influenced the runoff generation, it has a low contribution to explain the runoff at the event and catchment scales. On the other hand, neither the annual rainfall nor the presence of base flow had a clear influence on rainfall-runoff relationships, probably as a result of very different environmental and experimental conditions in the aforementioned cases. Apparently, higher infiltration rates and less forested area may involve less memory or closer initial soil moisture conditions and therefore more constant (linear) response patterns to rainfall. There is a persistent demand for studies that use hydrological indices/signatures to establish criteria to group hydrological regimes in order to identify, among other factors, ecological aspects and the behavior of rivers (Baeza-Sanz and Garcia de Jalon, 2005; Poff et al., 2010; D'Ambrosio et al., 2017). Despite the heterogeneity of the catchments, rainfall-runoff patterns at the event scale have allowed us to group the catchments into a small number of different response types. Management of small rural catchments is essential because their contribution to rivers in terms of sediment (and water quality) may lead to serious risk of floods, as well as damage to ecological systems. Thus, the characterization of flow patterns of small rural catchments (or signatures) in terms of magnitude and susceptibility of response can provide guidelines for planning and implementation of measures to deal with source areas of runoff and sediment, which are eventually discharged into large rivers.
In a context of the lack of experimental measurement-based runoff coefficients of small rural catchments in the IP, our results illustrate an empirical method to determine the representative volumetric runoff coefficient for gauged and ungauged catchments. The event rainfall accounted for more than 50% of the event runoff variance in 50% of the catchments. The catchments were highly heterogeneous in terms of land use and location in the IP, and neither annual rainfall nor base flow presence contributed significantly to explaining the rainfall-runoff patterns. The previous rainfall had a variable and irrelevant influence on the runoff generation. A greater effort needs to be made to describe and analyze small/medium rural catchments because taking action at this scale can be more economical and efficient than planning measures that are focused solely on the riparian areas of large rivers.
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