On the basis of unsaturated Darcy's law, the Talbot-Ogden method provides a fast unconditional mass conservative algorithm to simulate groundwater infiltration in various unsaturated soil textures. Unlike advanced reservoir modelling methods that compute unsaturated flow in space, it only discretizes the moisture content domain into a suitable number of bins so that the vertical water movement is estimated piecewise in each bin. The dimensionality of the moisture content domain is extended from one dimensional to two dimensional in this study, which allows us to distinguish pore shapes within the same moisture content range. The vertical movement of water in the extended model imitates the infiltration phase in the Talbot-Ogden method. However, the difference in this extension is the directional redistribution, which represents the horizontal inter-bin flow and causes the water content distribution to have an effect on infiltration. Using this extension, we mathematically analyse the general relationship between infiltration and the moisture content distribution associated with wetting front depths in different bins. We show that a more negatively skewed moisture content distribution can produce a longer ponding time, whereas a higher overall flux cannot be guaranteed in this situation. It is proven on the basis of the water content probability distribution independent of soil textures. To illustrate this analysis, we also present numerical examples for both fine and coarse soil textures.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Water Science and Technology