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Washington State University (1989)

Simulating the water balance of an arid site

Jones, Tim Lynn

Titre : Simulating the water balance of an arid site

Auteur : Jones, Tim Lynn

Université de soutenance : Washington State University

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 1989

Résumé
In 1984 a lysimeter facility was constructed at the Hanford Site in southeastern Washington to study the release of contaminants from solidified radioactive waste. The facility consists of 10 lysimeters each of which is 1.8 m in diameter and 2.8 m deep. The lysimeters are filled with coarse sediments native to the area, and they have been kept free of vegetation. The water balance of the lysimeters has been monitored since March 1984. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the ability of an unsaturated flow model (Evap) to simulate the water balance of the lysimeters. Evap simulates evaporation, redistribution, and drainage in response to climatic conditions. The model also accounts for the presence of snow with a simplistic snow-melt algorithm. The results of the simulations indicate that Evap does an adequate job of predicting the effect that snow has in delaying infiltration until late winter when the snow melts. Evap also accounted fairly well for the annual cycles in change in storage, although Evap tends to overpredict winter evaporation and underpredict summer evaporation. When measured hydraulic conductivities were input into Evap, the amount of storage was underpredicted by approximately 10% to 15%. When the saturated conductivity was reduced by approximately a factor of 4, the predicted storage values matched measured values within the variability of the lysimeter measurements.

Mots clés : Environmental science, Hydrology, Health and environmental sciences, Earth sciences

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