701-0535-00L  Environmental Soil Physics/Vadose Zone Hydrology

SemesterHerbstsemester 2016
DozierendeD. Or
Periodizitätjährlich wiederkehrende Veranstaltung

KurzbeschreibungThe course provides theoretical and practical foundations for understanding and characterizing physical and transport properties of soils/ near-surface earth materials, and quantifying hydrological processes and fluxes of mass and energy at multiple scales. Emphasis is given to land-atmosphere interactions, the role of plants on hydrological cycles, and biophysical processes in soils.
LernzielStudents are able to
- characterize quantitative knowledge needed to measure and parameterize structural, flow and transport properties of partially-saturated porous media.
- quantify driving forces and resulting fluxes of water, solute, and heat in soils.
- apply modern measurement methods and analytical tools for hydrological data collection
- conduct and interpret a limited number of experimental studies
- explain links between physical processes in the vadose-zone and major societal and environmental challenges
InhaltWeeks 1 to 3: Physical Properties of Soils and Other Porous Media – Units and dimensions, definitions and basic mass-volume relationships between the solid, liquid and gaseous phases; soil texture; particle size distributions; surface area; soil structure. Soil colloids and clay behavior

Soil Water Content and its Measurement - Definitions; measurement methods - gravimetric, neutron scattering, gamma attenuation; and time domain reflectometry; soil water storage and water balance.

Weeks 4 to 5: Soil Water Retention and Potential (Hydrostatics) - The energy state of soil water; total water potential and its components; properties of water (molecular, surface tension, and capillary rise); modern aspects of capillarity in porous media; units and calculations and measurement of equilibrium soil water potential components; soil water characteristic curves definitions and measurements; parametric models; hysteresis. Modern aspects of capillarity

Demo-Lab: Laboratory methods for determination of soil water characteristic curve (SWC), sensor pairing

Weeks 6 to 9: Water Flow in Soil - Hydrodynamics:
Part 1 - Laminar flow in tubes (Poiseuille's Law); Darcy's Law, conditions and states of flow; saturated flow; hydraulic conductivity and its measurement.

Lab #1: Measurement of saturated hydraulic conductivity in uniform and layered soil columns using the constant head method.

Part 2 - Unsaturated steady state flow; unsaturated hydraulic conductivity models and applications; non-steady flow and Richard’s Eq.; approximate solutions to infiltration (Green-Ampt, Philip); field methods for estimating soil hydraulic properties.
Midterm exam

Lab #2: Measurement of vertical infiltration into dry soil column - Green-Ampt, and Philip's approximations; infiltration rates and wetting front propagation.

Part 3 - Use of Hydrus model for simulation of unsaturated flow

Week 10 to 11: Energy Balance and Land Atmosphere Interactions - Radiation and energy balance; evapotranspiration definitions and estimation; transpiration, plant development and transpirtation coefficients – small and large scale influences on hydrological cycle; surface evaporation.

Week 12 to 13: Solute Transport in Soils – Transport mechanisms of solutes in porous media; breakthrough curves; convection-dispersion eq.; solutions for pulse and step solute application; parameter estimation; salt balance.

Lab #3: Miscible displacement and breakthrough curves for a conservative tracer through a column; data analysis and transport parameter estimation.

Additional topics:

Temperature and Heat Flow in Porous Media - Soil thermal properties; steady state heat flow; nonsteady heat flow; estimation of thermal properties; engineering applications.

Biological Processes in the Vaodse Zone – An overview of below-ground biological activity (plant roots, microbial, etc.); interplay between physical and biological processes. Focus on soil-atmosphere gaseous exchange; and challenges for bio- and phytoremediation.
SkriptClassnotes on website: Vadose Zone Hydrology, by Or D., J.M. Wraith, and M. Tuller
(available at the beginning of the semester)
LiteraturSupplemental textbook (not mandatory) -Environmental Soil Physics, by: D. Hillel