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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-2019-132
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-132
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 01 Apr 2019

Submitted as: research article | 01 Apr 2019

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

Simulating preferential soil water flow and tracer transport using the Lagrangian Soil Water and Solute Transport Model

Alexander Sternagel1,2, Ralf Loritz1, Wolfgang Wilcke2, and Erwin Zehe1 Alexander Sternagel et al.
  • 1Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Institute of Water Resources and River Basin Management, Chair of Hydrology
  • 2Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Institute of Geography and Geoecology, Geomorphology and Soil Science

Abstract. We propose an alternative model to overcome these weaknesses of the Darcy-Richards approach and to simulate preferential soil water flow and tracer transport in macroporous soils. Our LAST-Model (Lagrangian Soil Water and Solute Transport) relies on a Lagrangian perspective on the movement of water particles carrying a solute mass through the soil matrix and macropores. We advance the model of Zehe and Jackisch (2016) by two main extensions: a) a new routine for solute transport within the soil matrix and b) the implementation of an additional 1-D preferential flow domain which simulates flow and transport in a population of macropores. Infiltration into the matrix and the macropores depends on their moisture state and subsequently macropores are gradually filled. Macropores and matrix interact through diffusive mixing of water and solutes between the two domains which depends on their water content and matric potential at the considered depths.

The LAST-Model is then evaluated with sensitivity analyses and tested against tracer field experiments at three different sites. The results show the internal and physical validity of the model and the robustness of our solute transport and the linear mixing approach. Further, the model is able to simulate preferential flow through macropores and to depict well the observed 1-D solute mass profile of a tracer experiment with a high computational efficiency and short simulation times.

Alexander Sternagel et al.
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Alexander Sternagel et al.
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Short summary
We propose an alternative model to simulate preferential soil water flow and tracer transport in soils with macropores. We advance the model of Zehe and Jackisch (2016) by two extensions: a) a new routine for solute transport within the soil matrix and b) the implementation of a 1-D preferential flow domain. The evaluation of the model with data of tracer field experiments and the sensitivity analyses reveal the feasibility and physical validity of the model structure and the transport approach.
We propose an alternative model to simulate preferential soil water flow and tracer transport in...
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