A conduit flow process (CFP) for the Modular Finite Difference Ground-Water Flow model, MODFLOW-2005, has been created by the U.S. Geological Survey. An application of the CFP on a carbonate aquifer in southern Florida is described; this application examines (1) the potential for turbulent groundwater flow and (2) the effects of turbulent flow on hydraulic heads and parameter sensitivities. Turbulent flow components were spatially extensive in preferential groundwater flow layers, with horizontal hydraulic conductivities of about 5,000,000 m d-1, mean void diameters equal to about 3.5 cm, groundwater temperature equal to about 25??C, and critical Reynolds numbers less than or equal to 400. Turbulence either increased or decreased simulated heads from their laminar elevations. Specifically, head differences from laminar elevations ranged from about -18 to +27 cm and were explained by the magnitude of net flow to the finite difference model cell. Turbulence also affected the sensitivities of model parameters. Specifically, the composite-scaled sensitivities of horizontal hydraulic conductivities decreased by as much as 70% when turbulence was essentially removed. These hydraulic head and sensitivity differences due to turbulent groundwater flow highlight potential errors in models based on the equivalent porous media assumption, which assumes laminar flow in uniformly distributed void spaces. Copyright 2008 by the American Geophysical Union.
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Effects of turbulence on hydraulic heads and parameter sensitivities in preferential groundwater flow layers