Subsurface Biogeochemical Research. Click to return to home page.
Department of Energy Office of Science. Click to visit main DOE SC site.

U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

Searchable Research Highlights for
Subsurface Biogeochemical Research Program



Building Confidence in Hydrologic Models
Published: January 25, 2017
Posted: September 05, 2017

Model intercomparison project evaluates performance of seven different integrated hydrology models for solving challenge benchmarks.

The Science 
Understanding water availability and quality for large-scale surface and groundwater systems requires simulation and many numerical models have been developed by scientists to address these needs. A suite of common hydrologic benchmark challenges was developed and seven different modeling teams from the U.S. and Europe exercised their models to achieve the benchmarks to  better understand how each of the models and model outputs agree and differ.

The Impact
Model intercomparison benchmark challenges build confidence in the choice of model used for a specific scientific question or application and they illuminate the implications of model choice because they force modeling teams to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of their own and competing models. This understanding leads to more reliable simulations and improves integrated hydrologic modeling.

Summary
Following up on a first integrated hydrologic model intercomparison project several years ago, seven teams of modelers, including two teams supported by the Interoperable Design for Extreme-scale Application Software (IDEAS) project, participated in a second intercomparison project. Teams met at a workshop in Bonn, Germany, and designed a series of three model intercomparison benchmark challenges. The challenges were designed to focus on different aspects of integrated hydrology, including a hillslope-scale catchment, subsurface structural inclusions and layering, and a field study of hydrology on a small ditch with simple but data-informed topography. Parameters were standardized, but each team used their own model, including differences in model physics, coupling, and algorithms. Results were collected, stimulating detailed conversations to explain similarities and differences across the suite of models. While each of the codes share a common underlying core capability, they are focused on different applications and scales, and have their own strengths and weaknesses. This type of effort leads to improvement in all the codes, and improves the modeling community’s understanding of simulating integrated surface and groundwater systems hydrology.

Contacts
Ethan Coon
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
coonet@ornl.gov

Reed Maxwell
Colorado School of Mines
rmaxwell@mines.edu

Funding
Funding was provided by the DOE Office of Biological and Environmental Research, Subsurface Biogeochemistry Research (SBR) activity to the Interoperable Design for Extreme-scale Application Software (IDEAS) project.

Publications
S. Kollet, M. Sulis, R.M. Maxwell, C. Paniconi, M. Putti, G. Bertoldi, E.T. Coon, E. Cordano, S. Endrizzi, E. Kikinzon, E. Mouche, C. Mugler, Y.-J. Park, J.C. Refsgaard, S. Stisen, and E. Sudicky. “The integrated hydrologic model intercomparison project, IH-MIP2: A second set of benchmark results to diagnose integrated hydrology and feedbacks.” Water Resour. Res., 53, 867-890. (2017). [DOI: 10.1002/2016WR019191.] (Reference link)

Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Subsurface Biogeochemical Research

Division: SC-23.1 Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, BER

 

Recent Highlights

Jan 27, 2018
Clarifying Rates of Methylmercury Production
New model provides more accurate rate constant estimates for mercury methylation and demethylatio [more...]

Dec 28, 2017
Microbial “Hotspots” and Organic Rich Sediments are Key Determinants of Nitrogen Cycling in a Floodplain
Sediments from a Colorado River floodplain that are rich in organic matter have a 70% [more...]

Dec 20, 2017
How Shoreline Vegetation Protects Sediment-Bound Carbon
A new study investigates the mechanisms and pace of carbon processing at the terrestrial-aquatic [more...]

Dec 12, 2017
Simulating Interactions among River Water, Groundwater, and Land Surfaces by Coupling Different Models
New coupled model, CP v1.0, will improve understanding of water cycling and complex Earth system [more...]

Nov 21, 2017
CrunchFlow Receives 2017 R&D 100 Award
Powerful software simulates how chemical reactions occur and change as fluids travel underground. [more...]