Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.5194/hess-25-1-2021
Licence creative commons licence
Title (Primary) A field evidence model: how to predict transport in heterogeneous aquifers at low investigation level
Author Zech, A.; Dietrich, P. ORCID logo ; Attinger, S.; Teutsch, G.
Source Titel Hydrology and Earth System Sciences
Year 2021
Department CHS; GF; MET
Volume 25
Issue 1
Page From 1
Page To 15
Language englisch
Topic T5 Future Landscapes
Abstract Aquifer heterogeneity in combination with data scarcity is a major challenge for reliable solute transport prediction. Velocity fluctuations cause non-regular plume shapes with potentially long-tailing and/or fast-travelling mass fractions. High monitoring cost and a shortage of simple concepts have limited the incorporation of heterogeneity into many field transport models up to now. We present an easily applicable hierarchical conceptualization strategy for hydraulic conductivity to integrate aquifer heterogeneity into quantitative flow and transport modelling. The modular approach combines large-scale deterministic structures with random substructures. Depending on the modelling aim, the required structural complexity can be adapted. The same holds for the amount of monitoring data. The conductivity model is constructed step-wise following field evidence from observations, seeking a balance between model complexity and available field data. The starting point is a structure of deterministic blocks, derived from head profiles and pumping tests. Then, subscale heterogeneity in the form of random binary inclusions is introduced to each block. Structural parameters can be determined, for example, from flowmeter measurements or hydraulic profiling. As proof of concept, we implemented a predictive transport model for the heterogeneous MADE site. The proposed hierarchical aquifer structure reproduces the plume development of the MADE-1 transport experiment without calibration. Thus, classical advection–dispersion equation (ADE) models are able to describe highly skewed tracer plumes by incorporating deterministic contrasts and effects of connectivity in a stochastic way without using uni-modal heterogeneity models with high variances. The reliance of the conceptual model on few observations makes it appealing for a goal-oriented site-specific transport analysis of less well investigated heterogeneous sites.
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Zech, A., Dietrich, P., Attinger, S., Teutsch, G. (2021):
A field evidence model: how to predict transport in heterogeneous aquifers at low investigation level
Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. 25 (1), 1 - 15 10.5194/hess-25-1-2021