Solute Transport Modeling under Unsteady Flow Regimes: An Application of the Modular Modeling System

by Robert L. Runkel, Univ of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA,
Pedro J. Restrepo, Univ of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA,



Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Water Management in the '90s: A Time for Innovation

Abstract: Many existing solute transport codes rely on the assumption of steady (i.e. time-invariant) flow. This assumption severely limits such models, as accurate simulations often require realistic descriptions of the hydraulic flow regime. Small mountain streams, for example, are known to undergo daily fluctuations in volumetric flow rate and groundwater inflow. These changes in flow may act to dilute or concentrate a given solute, thereby affecting a contaminant's ultimate concentration. In response to this shortcoming, a solute transport model is presented that allows for the specification of time-varying lateral inflows, in-stream flow rates, and cross-sectional areas. This allows the model to be used in conjunction with watershed-scale hydraulic routing models that provide the time-varying parameters. This linkage between the routing component and the solute transport model is greatly facilitated through the use of the Modular Modeling System (MMS). MMS allows the two components to be represented as separate modules that are called at each time step. For a given time step, the routing module computes the flows and cross-sectional areas. These values are then made available to the solute transport module, and a new time step is initiated.

Subject Headings: Hydrologic models | Flow duration | Flow simulation | Hydraulic models | Unsteady flow | Simulation models | Inflow | Modular structures

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