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A. Szymkiewicz and K. Burzynski

Abstract

This paper compares numerical solutions of transient two-dimensional unsaturated flow equation by using different averaging schemes for internodal conductivities. Averaging methods such as arithmetic mean, geometric mean, upstream weighting, and integrated mean are taken into account, as well as a recent approach based on steady-state approximation. The latter method proved the most flexible, producing relatively accurate solutions for both downward and upward flow cases.

Open access

Adam Szymkiewicz, Witold Tisler and Kazimierz Burzyński

Abstract

Flow in unsaturated porous media is commonly described by the Richards equation. This equation is strongly nonlinear due to interrelationships between water pressure head (negative in unsaturated conditions), water content and hydraulic conductivity. The accuracy of numerical solution of the Richards equation often depends on the method used to estimate average hydraulic conductivity between neighbouring nodes or cells of the numerical grid. The present paper discusses application of the computer simulation code VS2DI to three test problems concerning infiltration into an initially dry medium, using various methods for inter-cell conductivity calculation (arithmetic mean, geometric mean and upstream weighting). It is shown that the influence of the averaging method can be very large for coarse grid, but that it diminishes as cell size decreases. Overall, the arithmetic average produced the most reliable results for coarse grids. Moreover, the difference between results obtained with various methods is a convenient indicator of the adequacy of grid refinement.

Open access

Adam Szymkiewicz, Anna Gumuła-Kawęcka, Jirka Šimůnek, Bertrand Leterme, Sahila Beegum, Beata Jaworska-Szulc, Małgorzata Pruszkowska-Caceres, Wioletta Gorczewska-Langner, Rafael Angulo-Jaramillo and Diederik Jacques

Abstract

The paper presents an evaluation of the combined use of the HYDRUS and SWI2 packages for MODFLOW as a potential tool for modeling recharge in coastal aquifers subject to saltwater intrusion. The HYDRUS package for MODFLOW solves numerically the one-dimensional form of the Richards equation describing water flow in variablysaturated media. The code computes groundwater recharge to or capillary rise from the groundwater table while considering weather, vegetation, and soil hydraulic property data. The SWI2 package represents in a simplified way variable-density flow associated with saltwater intrusion in coastal aquifers. Combining these two packages within the MODFLOW framework provides a more accurate description of vadose zone processes in subsurface systems with shallow aquifers, which strongly depend upon infiltration. The two packages were applied to a two-dimensional problem of recharge of a freshwater lens in a sandy peninsula, which is a typical geomorphologic form along the Baltic and the North Sea coasts, among other places. Results highlighted the sensitivity of calculated recharge rates to the temporal resolution of weather data. Using daily values of precipitation and potential evapotranspiration produced average recharge rates more than 20% larger than those obtained with weekly or monthly averaged weather data, leading to different trends in the evolution of freshwater-saltwater interfaces. Root water uptake significantly influenced both the recharge rate and the position of the freshwater-saltwater interface. The results were less sensitive to changes in soil hydraulic parameters, which in our study were found to affect average yearly recharge rates by up to 13%.