College of Science & Engineering
This group uses different computational models to investigate connections between the hydrological cycle and other aspects of the environment. Current projects mainly employ two different models. The first is the reactive-transport model PHT3D, which couples the groundwater model MODFLOW with the transport model MT3DMS and geochemical model PHREEQC. The researchers are using PHT3D in a study investigating the influence of groundwater on how sulfate loading in Minnesota streams and lakes may be affecting wild rice. Simulations represent multiple geochemical components that interact through many coupled reactions and complex flow in a 2D to 3D domain, thus requiring significant computational resources for model testing and calibration. The group is also using PHT3D to model sulfate release from taconite mining basins to surrounding groundwater and surface water systems. Plans for arsenic modeling based on new chemical analytical data are also in place for this year.
The second main model used by this group is the Community Land Model (CLM), which is the land-surface model component in NCAR's Community Earth System (CESM). This model will be implemented statewide over Minnesota to assess how changing vegetation conditions impact groundwater recharge. A major task will be to condition the model on satellite observations of vegetation conditions and groundwater level data from the state's observation well network. Conditioning the model requires ensemble simulations over the entire state that must be carried out on an HPC system.