A hydropedological approach to quantifying groundwater recharge in various glacial settings of the mid-continental USA (2016)

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Authors: Shawn Naylor
Sally Letsinger
D Ficklin
Kevin Ellett
Greg Olyphant

Data from six monitoring stations were combined with a soil-water dynamics model (HYDRUS 1D) to achieve physically-based estimates of shallow water-table recharge in representative hydropedological settings of the glaciated midwestern U.S.A. Calibration involved inverse modeling that yielded optimized hydraulic parameters. Root mean square errors for modeled versus measured soil moisture contents were generally within 3% for all soil layers at the six study sites. The optimized models also accurately simulated recharge values that corresponded to observed water-table fluctuations. Optimized parameter values were consistent with estimates from a pedotransfer function, lab analyses, and field experiments. Forward modeling indicated that shallow water-table recharge in mid-continent glacial settings is approximately 35% of precipitation, but interannual and monthly variability is significant. Soil parent materials and horizon characteristics influence recharge primarily through their control on Ks with clay-rich till parent materials producing values as lowas 16%and coarse-grained outwash parentmaterials producing values as high as 58%of precipitation.During the three-year study period, distinct seasonality of rechargewas observedwithmost recharge occurring in thewinter (seasonal mean of all sites was 66% of precipitation) and lesser but interannually stable amounts in the spring (44%), summer (13%), and autumn (16%). This research underscores the importance of incorporating pedological information into models of soil-water dynamics and groundwater recharge.



Naylor, S., Letsinger, S. L., Ficklin, D. L., Ellett, K. M., and Olyphant, G. A., 2016, A hydropedological approach to quantifying groundwater recharge in various glacial settings of the mid-continental USA: Hydrological Processes, v. 30, p. 1,594-1,608, doi: 10.1002/hyp.10718.


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Keywords: hydropedological, groundwater, recharge, glacial

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