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A flexible, robust method for linking grids of locally refined ground-water flow models constructed with different numerical methods is needed to address a variety of hydrologic problems. This work outlines and tests a new ghost-node model-linking method for a refined "child" model that is contained within a larger and coarser "parent" model that is based on the iterative method of Steffen W. Mehl and Mary C. Hill (2002, Advances in Water Res., 25, p. 497-511; 2004, Advances in Water Res., 27, p. 899-912). The method is applicable to steady-state solutions for ground-water flow. Tests are presented for a homogeneous two-dimensional system that has matching grids (parent cells border an integer number of child cells) or nonmatching grids. The coupled grids are simulated by using the finite-difference and finite-element models MODFLOW and FEHM, respectively. The simulations require no alteration of the MODFLOW or FEHM models and are executed using a batch file on Windows operating systems. Results indicate that when the grids are matched spatially so that nodes and child-cell boundaries are aligned, the new coupling technique has error nearly equal to that when coupling two MODFLOW models. When the grids are nonmatching, model accuracy is slightly increased compared to that for matching-grid cases. Overall, results indicate that the ghost-node technique is a viable means to couple distinct models because the overall head and flow errors relative to the analytical solution are less than if only the regional coarse-grid model was used to simulate flow in the child model's domain.
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New ghost-node method for linking different models with varied grid refinement
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11th International High Level Radioactive Waste Management Conference