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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Short summary
Freezing-induced groundwater migration and water table decline are widely observed, but quantitative understanding of these processes is lacking. By considering atmospheric conditions and occurrence of lateral groundwater inflow, a model coupling soil water and groundwater well reproduced field observed wintertime variations of soil water content and groundwater level. The model results led to a clear understanding of the balance of water budget during the freezing-thawing cycle.
Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-657
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2020-657

  06 Jan 2021

06 Jan 2021

Review status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal HESS.

Interaction of soil water and groundwater during the freezing-thawing cycle: field observations and numerical modeling

Hong-Yu Xie1, Xiao-Wei Jiang1, Shu-Cong Tan1, Li Wan1, Xu-Sheng Wang1, and Yijian Zeng2 Hong-Yu Xie et al.
  • 1MOE (Ministry of Education) Key Laboratory of Groundwater Circulation and Evolution, China University of Geosciences, Beijing 100083, China
  • 2Department of Water Resources, ITC Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation, University of Twente, Enschede, the Netherlands

Abstract. Freezing-induced water migration and groundwater level decline are widely observed in regions with shallow water table, but many existing studies trying to quantify freezing-induced groundwater migration do not account for water level fluctuations induced by freezing and thawing. Here, detailed field observations of liquid soil water content and groundwater level fluctuations at a site in the Ordos Plateau, China are combined with numerical modeling to show groundwater and soil water dynamics controlled by wintertime atmospheric conditions and topographically-driven lateral groundwater inflow. By comparing simulation results with and without lateral groundwater inflow, we find lateral groundwater inflow leads to an alleviated freezing-induced water level decline and enhanced freezing-induced water migration. At the field site with a lateral groundwater inflow rate of 1.03 mm/d, compared with the case without lateral groundwater inflow, the water level decline decreases from 40 cm to 15 cm, and the increased total water content in the frozen zone enhances from 0.071 to 0.106. By calculating the budget of groundwater, the mean upward flux of freezing-induced groundwater loss is 1.46 mm/d for 93 days, and the mean flux of thawing-induced groundwater gain is as high as 3.94 mm/d for 32 days. The study enhances our understanding of the mechanisms controlling water redistribution between saturated and unsaturated zones and the water budget in the freezing-thawing cycle. The fluxes of groundwater loss and gain in the freezing and thawing stages obtained in the current study can be useful for future studies on two- or three-dimensional transient groundwater flow in semi-arid regions with seasonally frozen soils.

Hong-Yu Xie et al.

Status: open (until 03 Mar 2021)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse

Hong-Yu Xie et al.

Hong-Yu Xie et al.

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Short summary
Freezing-induced groundwater migration and water table decline are widely observed, but quantitative understanding of these processes is lacking. By considering atmospheric conditions and occurrence of lateral groundwater inflow, a model coupling soil water and groundwater well reproduced field observed wintertime variations of soil water content and groundwater level. The model results led to a clear understanding of the balance of water budget during the freezing-thawing cycle.
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