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Research Abstracts Online
January 2008 - March 2009

University of Minnesota Twin Cities
College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences and
Institute of Technology
Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering

PI: John L. Nieber

Dynamics of Water Flow on Hill Slopes

The fundamental unit for all watersheds is the hill-slope unit. The hill-slope scale dominates in the processes of runoff generation and transport processes in upland areas of watersheds. Modeling of flow and transport processes on hill slopes is complex because of the highly nonlinear nature of the governing flow equations and the complex boundary conditions involved. The feedback mechanisms from plants on hill slopes is very important in determining hydrologic responses of hill slopes, and the soil development processes on hill slopes is strongly related to weathering activities and to the activity of vegetation and resident fauna. The objective of this research is to develop characterizations of hill-slope hydrologic responses and hill-slope soil development processes based on the use of two-dimensional and three-dimensional high-performance numerical simulations. The researchers use COMSOL MP3.4 with the Earth Science Module, the Reaction Engineering Module, and the Structural Engineering Module. One valuable outcome of the characterization will be the development of response functions that will have utility for parameterization of large-scale hydrologic models.

Group Members

Nick Olson, Graduate Student
Mikhail Titov, Graduate Student