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Representation of Water Table Dynamics in a Land Surface Scheme. Part II: Subgrid Variability

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  • 1 Ralph M. Parsons Laboratory, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts
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Abstract

A lumped unconfined aquifer model has been developed and interactively coupled to a land surface scheme in a companion paper. Here, the issue of the representation of subgrid variability of water table depths (WTDs) is addressed. A statistical–dynamical (SD) approach is used to account for the effects of the unresolved subgrid variability of WTD in the grid-scale groundwater runoff. The dynamic probability distribution function (PDF) of WTD is specified as a two-parameter gamma distribution based on observations. The grid-scale groundwater rating curve (i.e., aquifer storage–discharge relationship) is derived statistically by integrating a point groundwater runoff model with respect to the PDF of WTD. Next, a mosaic approach is utilized to account for the effects of subgrid variability of WTD in the grid-scale groundwater recharge. A grid cell is categorized into different subgrids based on the PDF of WTD. The grid-scale hydrologic fluxes are computed by averaging all of the subgrid fluxes weighted by their fractions. This new methodology combines the strengths of the SD approach and the mosaic approach. The results of model testing in Illinois from 1984 to 1994 indicate that the simulated hydrologic variables (soil saturation and WTD) and fluxes (evaporation, runoff, and groundwater recharge) agree well with the observations. Because of the paucity of the large-scale observations on WTD, the development of a practical parameter estimation procedure is indispensable before the global implementation of the developed scheme of water table dynamics in climate models.

* Current affiliation: Department of Civil Engineering, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

Corresponding author address: Dr. Pat J.-F. Yeh, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong, China. Email: patyeh@hkucc.hku.hk

Abstract

A lumped unconfined aquifer model has been developed and interactively coupled to a land surface scheme in a companion paper. Here, the issue of the representation of subgrid variability of water table depths (WTDs) is addressed. A statistical–dynamical (SD) approach is used to account for the effects of the unresolved subgrid variability of WTD in the grid-scale groundwater runoff. The dynamic probability distribution function (PDF) of WTD is specified as a two-parameter gamma distribution based on observations. The grid-scale groundwater rating curve (i.e., aquifer storage–discharge relationship) is derived statistically by integrating a point groundwater runoff model with respect to the PDF of WTD. Next, a mosaic approach is utilized to account for the effects of subgrid variability of WTD in the grid-scale groundwater recharge. A grid cell is categorized into different subgrids based on the PDF of WTD. The grid-scale hydrologic fluxes are computed by averaging all of the subgrid fluxes weighted by their fractions. This new methodology combines the strengths of the SD approach and the mosaic approach. The results of model testing in Illinois from 1984 to 1994 indicate that the simulated hydrologic variables (soil saturation and WTD) and fluxes (evaporation, runoff, and groundwater recharge) agree well with the observations. Because of the paucity of the large-scale observations on WTD, the development of a practical parameter estimation procedure is indispensable before the global implementation of the developed scheme of water table dynamics in climate models.

* Current affiliation: Department of Civil Engineering, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

Corresponding author address: Dr. Pat J.-F. Yeh, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong, China. Email: patyeh@hkucc.hku.hk

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