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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-2019-301
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2019-301
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: development and technical paper 22 Jan 2020

Submitted as: development and technical paper | 22 Jan 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal GMD.

A multirate mass transfer model to represent the interaction of multicomponent biogeochemical processes between surface water and hyporheic zones (SWAT-MRMT-R 1.0)

Yilin Fang1, Xingyuan Chen1, Jesus Gomez velez2, Xuesong Zhang3, Zhuoran Duan1, Glenn E. Hammond4, Amy E. Goldman1, Vanessa A. Garayburu-Caruso1, and Emily B. Graham1 Yilin Fang et al.
  • 1Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Washington, USA
  • 2Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, USA
  • 3Joint Global Change Research Institute, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, College Park, Maryland, USA
  • 4Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA

Abstract. Surface water quality along river corridors can be modulated by hyporheic zones (HZs) that are ubiquitous and biogeochemically active. Watershed management practices often ignore the potentially important role of HZs as a natural reactor. To investigate the effect of hydrological exchange and biogeochemical processes on the fate of nutrients in surface water and HZs, a novel model, SWAT-MRMT-R, was developed coupling the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) watershed model and the reaction module from a flow and reactive transport code (PFLOTRAN). SWAT-MRMT-R simulates concurrent nonlinear multicomponent biogeochemical reactions in both the channel water and its surrounding HZs, connecting the channel water and HZs through hyporheic exchanges using multirate mass transfer (MRMT) representation. Within the model, HZs are conceptualized as transient storage zones with distinguished exchange rates and residence times. The biogeochemical processes within HZs are different from those in the channel water. Hyporheic exchanges are modeled as multiple first order mass transfers between the channel water and HZs. As a numerical example, SWAT-MRMT-R is applied to the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River, a large river in the United States, focusing on nitrate dynamics in the channel water. Major nitrate contaminants entering the Hanford Reach include those from the legacy waste, irrigation return flows (irrigation water that is not consumed by crops and runs off as point sources to the stream), and groundwater seepage resulted from irrigated agriculture. A two-step reactions for denitrification and an aerobic respiration reaction are assumed to represent the biogeochemical transformations taking place within the HZs. The spatially variable hyporheic exchange rates and residence times in this example are estimated with the basin-scale Networks with Exchange and Subsurface Storage (NEXSS) model. Our simulation results show that 1) as the commonly used transient storage model for stream–HZ exchange of solutes uses a single residence time to parameterize the exchange coefficient, it may overestimate the nitrate attenuation role of HZs ignoring the contribution from HZs with low residence times; and 2) source locations of nitrate have different impact on surface water quality due to the spatially variable hyporheic exchanges.

Yilin Fang et al.

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Yilin Fang et al.

Data sets

Dataset for multirate mass transfer and multicomponent reactive transport model for nutrient dynamics in river networks (SWAT-MRMT-R-v1.0) Y. Fang, X. Chen, J. Gomez-velez, X. Zhang, Z. Duan, G. E. Hammond, A. E. Goldman, V. A. Garayburu-caruso, and E. B. Graham https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3585976

Model code and software

Multirate mass transfer and multicomponent reactive transport model for nutrient dynamics in river networks (SWAT-MRMT-R-v1.0) Y. Fang, X. Chen, J. Gomez-velez, X. Zhang, Z. Duan, G. E. Hammond, A. E. Goldman, V. A. Garayburu-caruso, and E. B. Graham https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.3585948

Yilin Fang et al.

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Latest update: 28 Feb 2020
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Short summary
Surface water quality along river corridors can be improved by the area of the stream bed and stream bank in which stream water mixes with shallow groundwater or hyporheic zones (HZs). These zones are ubiquitous and dominated by microorganisms that can process the dissolved nutrients exchanged at this interface of these zones. The modulation of surface water quality can be simulated by connecting the channel water and HZs through hyporheic exchanges using multirate mass transfer representation.
Surface water quality along river corridors can be improved by the area of the stream bed and...
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