HGS RESEARCH HIGHLIGHT - Full Coupling Between the Atmosphere, Surface, and Subsurface for Integrated Hydrologic Simulation

AUTHORS: JASON H. DAVISON, HYOUN-TAE HWANG, EDWARD A. SUDICKY, DEREK V. MALLIA, JOHN C. LIN

An ever increasing community of earth system modelers is incorporating new physical processes into numerical models. This trend is facilitated by advancements in computational resources, improvements in simulation skill, and the desire to build numerical simulators that represent the water cycle with greater fidelity. In this quest to develop a state-of-the-art water cycle model, we coupled HydroGeoSphere (HGS), a 3-D control-volume finite element surface and variably saturated subsurface flow model that includes evapotranspiration processes, to the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) Model, a 3-D finite difference nonhydrostatic mesoscale atmospheric model. The two-way coupled model, referred to as HGS-WRF, exchanges the actual evapotranspiration fluxes and soil saturations calculated by HGS to WRF; conversely, the potential evapotranspiration and precipitation fluxes from WRF are passed to HGS. The flexible HGS-WRF coupling method allows for unique meshes used by each model, while maintaining mass and energy conservation between the domains. Furthermore, the HGS-WRF coupling implements a subtime stepping algorithm to minimize computational expense. As a demonstration of HGS-WRF's capabilities, we applied it to the California Basin and found a strong connection between the depth to the groundwater table and the latent heat fluxes across the land surface.

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