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Title: A Subgrid Approach for Modeling Microtopography Effects on Overland Flow

Abstract

Microtopography, or heterogeneities in the elevation across scales much smaller than the domain of interest, plays a critical role in surface water retention, surface/subsurface interactions, and runoff. Resolving microtopographic influences on flow requires high–resolution simulations, which are computationally demanding even when considering the surface system in isolation and even more so when surface flow is one component in integrated simulations that couple surface flow with unsaturated subsurface flow. There is thus significant motivation for models that allow the effects of subgrid microtopography to be better represented. Subgrid models modify coarsened models to capture the microtopography–induced nonlinear effects on hydrologic processes. We present a subgrid model that alters the water storage and flow terms in the diffusion wave equation for surface flow. Stochastically generated microtopography with strongly contrasting spatial structure, high–resolution digital elevation maps from a polygonal tundra site on the North Slope of Alaska and a hummocky microtopography from a field site in Northern Minnesota are used to assess the accuracy and applicability of the subgrid model to disparate landscapes. Approaches for determining subgrid model parameters are tested and simulation results using the subgrid model are compared to benchmark fine–scale simulations and to coarse simulations that ignore microtopography. Our findingsmore » confirm that a properly parameterized subgrid model greatly improves the coarse–scale representation of hydrographs and total water content in the system. Furthermore, using the polygonal tundra example, we propose and test a strategy for moving to application–relevant spatial scales by combining microtopography classification and a few fine–scale simulations on small subdomains.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  2. Boise State Univ., Boise, ID (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1468275
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1469269
Grant/Contract Number:  
[AC05-00OR22725; Interoperable Design of Extreme-scale Application Software (IDEAS) project; Next Generation Ecosystem Experiment (NGEE-Arctic) project; Spruce and Peatland Response Under Changing Climate]
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Water Resources Research
Additional Journal Information:
[ Journal Volume: 54; Journal Issue: 9]; Journal ID: ISSN 0043-1397
Publisher:
American Geophysical Union (AGU)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; Subgrid Model; Microtopography; Surface flow; Catchment

Citation Formats

Jan, Ahmad, Coon, Ethan T., Graham, Jake, and Painter, Scott L. A Subgrid Approach for Modeling Microtopography Effects on Overland Flow. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1029/2017WR021898.
Jan, Ahmad, Coon, Ethan T., Graham, Jake, & Painter, Scott L. A Subgrid Approach for Modeling Microtopography Effects on Overland Flow. United States. doi:10.1029/2017WR021898.
Jan, Ahmad, Coon, Ethan T., Graham, Jake, and Painter, Scott L. Thu . "A Subgrid Approach for Modeling Microtopography Effects on Overland Flow". United States. doi:10.1029/2017WR021898. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1468275.
@article{osti_1468275,
title = {A Subgrid Approach for Modeling Microtopography Effects on Overland Flow},
author = {Jan, Ahmad and Coon, Ethan T. and Graham, Jake and Painter, Scott L.},
abstractNote = {Microtopography, or heterogeneities in the elevation across scales much smaller than the domain of interest, plays a critical role in surface water retention, surface/subsurface interactions, and runoff. Resolving microtopographic influences on flow requires high–resolution simulations, which are computationally demanding even when considering the surface system in isolation and even more so when surface flow is one component in integrated simulations that couple surface flow with unsaturated subsurface flow. There is thus significant motivation for models that allow the effects of subgrid microtopography to be better represented. Subgrid models modify coarsened models to capture the microtopography–induced nonlinear effects on hydrologic processes. We present a subgrid model that alters the water storage and flow terms in the diffusion wave equation for surface flow. Stochastically generated microtopography with strongly contrasting spatial structure, high–resolution digital elevation maps from a polygonal tundra site on the North Slope of Alaska and a hummocky microtopography from a field site in Northern Minnesota are used to assess the accuracy and applicability of the subgrid model to disparate landscapes. Approaches for determining subgrid model parameters are tested and simulation results using the subgrid model are compared to benchmark fine–scale simulations and to coarse simulations that ignore microtopography. Our findings confirm that a properly parameterized subgrid model greatly improves the coarse–scale representation of hydrographs and total water content in the system. Furthermore, using the polygonal tundra example, we propose and test a strategy for moving to application–relevant spatial scales by combining microtopography classification and a few fine–scale simulations on small subdomains.},
doi = {10.1029/2017WR021898},
journal = {Water Resources Research},
number = [9],
volume = [54],
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {8}
}

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