Skip to Main Content U.S. Department of Energy
Environmental Significace of the Groundwater-Surface Water Interaction Zone
Mechanistic Models

Mechanistic Models Campaign

Objectives and Scope:

  • Characterize and classify hydromorphic and hydrogeologic structures in manner that is general, measurable using commonly available data, and transferable to other river systems.
  • Quantify the influence of hydromorphic structure, hydrogeologic heterogeneity, and variable river discharge on hydrologic exchange flows (HEFs), surface water residence times, and biogeochemical reaction rates.
  • Quantify first-order characteristics of system behavior at the hydromorphic structure scale in support of reduced-order model formulation and parameterization at the reach scale.

The Mechanistic Models Campaign will reveal hydrobiogeochemical processes governing distributions of HEFs, residence times, and reaction rates. It will also reveal the cumulative effects of governing processes and their appropriate representation in larger-scale models. To do so, we will develop high-resolution mechanistic models of HEFs and associated reactive transport processes, building on a number of our previous research results. Simulations will be performed for a variety of hydromorphic/ hydrogeologic conditions and under variable river discharge conditions. Campaign-level science questions and hypotheses are built around the central theme of using mechanistic model outputs of system components (hydromorphic structures) to identify characteristic component behaviors and parameterize reduced-order models at system (reach and watershed) scales. Model results will inform the Systems Model Campaign development and parameterization of reach-scale reduced-order models of nitrogen and carbon transport and biogeochemical transformation. Where relevant to contaminant plumes, model results will also support the Systems Model Campaign interpretation of observations of contaminant transport and implications for large-scale hydrologic exchange. Mechanistic models will be underpinned by and tested against observational and experimental data from the Process Studies Campaign. Hydromorphic classification maps will guide Process Studies Campaign experimental design and field site selection.

Campaign Lead:


Research Activities

Related Websites