Simultaneous flow of water and air across the land surface during runoff

Jens Olaf Delfs, Ashok Singh, T. Kalbacher, W Wang, O. Kolditz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


This paper presents an inter-compartment boundary condition for the simulation of surface runoff, soil moisture, and soil air as a coupled system of partial differential equations. The boundary condition is based on a classic leakance approach to balance water between differently mobile regions such as the land surface and subsurface. Present work applies leakances to transfer water and air simultaneously through the land surface for soils, which are connected by an air flux with a steady atmosphere. Shallow flow and two phase flow in a porous medium are sequential calculated in an iteration loop. General criteria are stated to guarantee numerical stability in the coupling loop and for leakances to control inter-compartment fluid fluxes. Using the leakance approach, a numerical model captures typical feedbacks between surface runoff and soil air in near-stream areas. Specifically, displacement of water and air in soils is hampered at full-water saturation over the land surface resulting in enhanced surface runoff in the test cases. Leakance parameters permit the simulation of air out-breaks with reference to air pressures, which fluctuate in the shallow subsurface between two thresholds.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the V International Conference on Computational Methods for Coupled Problems in Science and Engineering
EditorsS. Idelsohn, M. Papadrakakis, B. Schrefler
Number of pages8
PublisherInternational Center for Numerical Methods in Engineering
Publication date2014
ISBN (Electronic)978-84-941407-6-1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes
EventComputational Methods for Coupled Problems in Science and Engineering V: A Conference Celebrating the 60th Birthday of Eugenio Oñate - Santa Eulalia, Ibiza, Spain
Duration: 17. Jun 201319. Jun 2013


ConferenceComputational Methods for Coupled Problems in Science and Engineering V
CitySanta Eulalia, Ibiza


  • Two-phase flow, Horton runoff, Leakance, Soil gas release, Sequential iterative coupling, OpenGeoSys


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