News & Events

Noon seminar - The groundwater-land-surface-atmosphere connection: Using coupled model simulations

Monday, February 21, 2011, 12:00PM - 1:00PM


Reed Maxwell

Colorado School of Mines


ARC 620

Full title: "The groundwater-land-surface-atmosphere connection: Using coupled model simulations to diagnose interactions between the subsurface, land-energy fluxes and the lower atmosphere."

Complete models of the hydrologic cycle have gained recent attention as research has shown interdependence between the coupled land and energy balance of the subsurface, land surface and lower-atmosphere. Here the coupling strategy behind “groundwater to atmospheric models” is discussed and examples of such models are presented. A number of examples are then used to demonstrate the improvement in important physical processes afforded by these coupled models. These examples include the role of groundwater on the land energy budget, spatial patterns of land energy fluxes created by complicated subsurface heterogeneity and the interdependence of human management practices (such as pumping and irrigation) and climate change on hydrologic and land energy cycles. As energy fluxes are an important component of land-atmosphere interactions, different formulations for water stress on transpiration will also be presented. These formulations provide differing degrees of interaction between deep roots and the free water table in addition to different mechanisms to moderate transpiration based on water limitations. Finally, thoughts on the path forward for modeling the hydrologic cycle will be presented.