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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-365
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-365
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 16 Jul 2018

Research article | 16 Jul 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

Capturing soil-water and groundwater interactions with an iterative feedback coupling scheme: New HYDRYS package for MODFLOW

Jicai Zeng, Jinzhong Yang, Yuanyuan Zha, and Liangsheng Shi Jicai Zeng et al.
  • State Key Laboratory of Water Resources and Hydropower Engineering Science, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China

Abstract. Accurately capturing complex soil-water and groundwater interactions is vital for describing the coupling between subsurface/surface/atmospheric systems in regional-scale models. The non-linearity of the Richards' equation for water flow, however, introduces numerical complexity to large unsaturated-saturated modeling systems. An alternative is to use quasi-3D methods with a feedback coupling scheme to join practically sub-models with different properties, such as governing equations, numerical scales, and dimensionalities. In this work, to reduce the non-linearity in the coupling system, two different forms of the Richards' equation are switched according to the soil-water content at each numerical node. A rigorous multi-scale water balance analysis is carried out at the phreatic interface to link the soil water and groundwater models at separated spatial and temporal scales. With a moving-boundary approach at the coupling interface, the non-trivial coupling errors introduced by the saturated lateral fluxes are minimized for problems with dynamic groundwater flow. It is shown that the developed iterative feedback coupling scheme results in significant error reduction, and is numerically efficient for capturing drastic flow interactions at the water table, especially with dynamic local groundwater flow. The coupling scheme is developed into a new HYDRUS package for MODFLOW, which is applicable for regional-scale problems.

Jicai Zeng et al.
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Jicai Zeng et al.
Jicai Zeng et al.
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Short summary
Accurately capturing the soil-water-groundwater interaction is vital for all disciplines related to sub-surface flow but is difficult when undergoing significant non-linearity in the modeling system. A new soil-water flow package is developed to solve the switching form Richards’ equation. A multi-scale water balance analysis joins unsaturated/saturated models at separated scales. The whole system is solved efficiently with an iterative feedback coupling scheme.
Accurately capturing the soil-water-groundwater interaction is vital for all disciplines related...
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