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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-2019-533
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2019-533
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 10 Oct 2019

Submitted as: research article | 10 Oct 2019

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

Surface water and groundwater: Unifying conceptualization and quantification of the two water worlds

Brian Berkowitz1 and Erwin Zehe2 Brian Berkowitz and Erwin Zehe
  • 1Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 7610001, Israel
  • 2Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Karlsruhe, Germany

Abstract. While both surface water and groundwater hydrological systems exhibit structural, hydraulic and chemical heterogeneity, and signatures of self-organisation, modelling approaches between these two water world communities generally remain separate and distinct. To begin to unify these water worlds, we recognize that preferential flows, in a general sense, are a manifestation of self-organisation; they hinder perfect mixing within a system, due to a more energy efficient and hence faster throughput of water and matter. We develop this general notion by detailing the role of preferential flow for residence times and chemical transport, as well as for energy conversions and energy dissipation associated with flows of water and mass. Our principal focus is on the role of heterogeneity and preferential flow and transport of water and chemical species. We propose, essentially, that related conceptualizations and quantitative characterisations can be unified in terms of a theory that connects these two water worlds in a dynamic framework. We discuss key features of fluid flow and chemical transport dynamics in these two systems – surface water and groundwater – and then focus on chemical transport, merging treatment of many of these dynamics in a proposed quantitative framework. We then discuss aspects of a unified treatment of surface water and groundwater systems in terms of energy and mass flows, and close with a reflection on complementary manifestations of self-organisation in spatial patterns and temporal dynamic behaviour.

Brian Berkowitz and Erwin Zehe
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Brian Berkowitz and Erwin Zehe
Brian Berkowitz and Erwin Zehe
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Latest update: 13 Nov 2019
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Short summary
We present a blueprint for a unified modelling framework to quantify chemical transport in both surface water and groundwater systems. There has been extensive debate over the last decades, particularly in the surface water literature, about how to explain and account for long travel times of chemical species that are distinct from water flow (rainfall-runoff) travel times. We suggest a powerful modelling framework known to be robust and effective from the field of groundwater hydrology.
We present a blueprint for a unified modelling framework to quantify chemical transport in both...
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