A model that simulates heat and water transfer in soils during freezing and thawing periods was developed and incorporated into the U.S. Geological Survey's Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System. The model's transfer of heat is based on an equation developed from Fourier's equation for heat flux. The model's transfer of water within the soil profile is based on the concept of capillary forces. Field capacity and infiltration rate can vary throughout the freezing and thawing period, depending on soil conditions and rate and timing of snowmelt. The model can be used to determine the effects of seasonally frozen soils on ground-water recharge and surface-water runoff.
Data collected for two winters, 1985-86 and 1986-87, on three runoff plots were used to calibrate and verify the model. The winter of 1985-86 was colder than normal, and snow cover was continuous throughout the winter. The winter of 1986-87 was warmer than normal, and snow accumulated for only short periods of several days.
Runoff, snowmelt, and frost depths were used as the criteria for determining the degree of agreement between simulated and measured data. The model was calibrated using the 1985-86 data for plot 2. The calibration simulation agreed closely with the measured data. The verification simulations for plots 1 and 3 using the 1985-86 data and for plots 1 and 2 using the 1986-87 data agreed closely with the measured data. The verification simulation for plot 3 using the 1986-87 data did not agree closely. The recalibration simulations for plots 1 and 3 using the 1985-86 data indicated little improvement because the verification simulations for plots 1 and 3 already agreed closely with the measured data.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
A heat and water transfer model for seasonally frozen soils with application to a precipitation-runoff model
Water Supply Paper
U.S. G.P.O. ;
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