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Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2019-190
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2019-190
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: model description paper 23 Aug 2019

Submitted as: model description paper | 23 Aug 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Geoscientific Model Development (GMD).

Simulating Coupled Surface-Subsurface Flows with ParFlow v3.5.0: Capabilities, applications, and ongoing developmentof an open-source, massively parallel, integrated hydrologic model

Benjamin N. O. Kuffour1, Nicholas B. Engdahl1, Carol S. Woodward2, Laura E. Condon3, Stefan Kollet4,5, and Reed M. Maxwell6 Benjamin N. O. Kuffour et al.
  • 1Civil and Environmental Engineering, Washington State University, Pullman, WA, USA
  • 2Center for Applied Scientific Computing, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA, USA
  • 3Hydrologyand Atmospheric Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
  • 4Institute for Bio-and Geosciences, Agrosphere (IBG-3), Research Centre Jülich, Geoverbund ABC/J, Jülich, Germany
  • 5Centre for High-Performance Scientific Computing in Terrestrial Systems, Geoverbund ABC/J, Jülich, Germany
  • 6Integrated GroundWater Modeling Center and Department of Geology and Geological Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO, USA

Abstract. Surface and subsurface flow constitute a naturally linked hydrologic continuum that has not traditionally been simulated in an integrated fashion. Recognizing the interactions between these systems has encouraged the development of integrated hydrologic models (IHMs) capable of treating surface and subsurface systems as a single integrated resource. IHMs is dynamically evolving with improvement in technology and the extent of their current capabilities are often only known to the developers and not general users. This article provides an overview of the core functionality, capability, applications, and ongoing development of one open-source IHM, ParFlow. ParFlow is a parallel, integrated, hydrologic model that simulates surface and subsurface flows. ParFlow solves Richards’ equation for three-dimensional variably saturated groundwater flow and the two-dimensional kinematic wave approximation of the shallow water equations for overland flow. The model employs a conservative centered finite difference scheme and a conservative finite volume method for subsurface flow and transport, respectively. ParFlow uses multigrid preconditioned Krylov and Newton-Krylov methods to solve the linear and nonlinear systems within each time step of the flow simulations. The code has demonstrated very efficient parallel solution capabilities. ParFlow has been coupled to geochemical reaction, land surface (e.g. Common Land Model), and atmospheric models to study the interactions among the subsurface, land surface, and the atmosphere systems across different spatial scales. This overview focuses on the current capabilities of the code, the core simulation engine, and the primary couplings of the subsurface model to other codes, taking a high-level perspective.

Benjamin N. O. Kuffour et al.
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Short summary
Integrated hydrologic models (IHMs) were developed in order to allow for more accurate simulations of real-world ecohydrologic conditions. Many IHMs exist, and the literature can be dense, so it is often difficult to understand what a specific model can and cannot do. We provide a review of the current core capabilities, solution techniques, communication structure with other models, some limitations and potential future improvements of one such open-source integrated model, called ParFlow.
Integrated hydrologic models (IHMs) were developed in order to allow for more accurate...
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