Simulation of unsaturated flow and heat transport within playa soils



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The primary objective in this research was to use the observed data and an appropriate unsaturated flow model to estimate the amount of water that can pass the root zone and eventually recharge the Ogallala aquifer for particular playas following specific inundation periods. The first step in approaching this challenge was to screen the field data collected by the playa instrument stations. This step was necessary to determine which parts of the data set provided complete description of the necessary field conditions. The second step was to select a software package that employed input parameters available in this research project either through collected field data or previous study results. Third, the available input parameters were provided to the model, and calibration of the model was performed. Most input parameters were determined with relative ease while others presented difficult challenges, which indicated future research topics. Finally, the modeled results were produced to provide estimates of potential recharge.