David L. Rudolph


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Numerical study of coupled water and vapour flow, heat transfer, and solute transport in variably‐saturated deformable soil during freeze‐thaw cycles
Xiang Huang, David L. Rudolph
Water Resources Research

Abstract As climate change intensifies, soil water flow, heat transfer, and solute transport in the active, unfrozen zones within permafrost and seasonally frozen ground exhibit progressively more complex interactions that are difficult to elucidate with measurements alone. For example, frozen conditions impede water flow and solute transport in soil, while heat and mass transfer are significantly affected by high thermal inertia generated from water‐ice phase change during the freeze‐thaw cycle. To assist in understanding these subsurface processes, the current study presents a coupled two‐dimensional model, which examines heat conduction‐convection with water‐ice phase change, soil water (liquid water and vapour) and groundwater flow, ad v ective‐dispersive solute transport with sorption, and soil deformation (frost heave and thaw settlement) in variably saturated soils subjected to freeze‐thaw actions. This coupled multiphysics problem is numerically solved using the finite element method. The model's performance is first verified by comparison to a well‐documented freezing test on unsaturated soil in a laboratory environment obtained from the literature. Then based on the proposed model, we quantify the impacts of freeze‐thaw cycles on the distribution of temperature, water content, displacement history, and solute concentration in three distinct soil types, including sand, silt and clay textures. The influence of fluctuations in the air temperature, groundwater level, hydraulic conductivity, and solute transport parameters was also comparatively studied.The results show that (i) there is a significant bidirectional exchange between groundwater in the saturated zone and soil water in the vadose zone during freeze‐thaw periods, and its magnitude increases with the combined influence of higher hydraulic conductivity and higher capillarity; (ii) the rapid dewatering ahead of the freezing front causes local volume shrinkage within the non‐frozen region when the freezing front propagates downward during the freezing stage and this volume shrinkage reduces the impact of frost heave due to ice formation. This gradually recovers when the thawed water replenishes the water loss zone during the thawing stage; and (iii) the profiles of soil moisture, temperature, displacement, and solute concentration during freeze‐thaw cycles are sensitive to the changes in amplitude and freeze‐thaw period of the sinusoidal varying air temperature near the ground surface, hydraulic conductivity of soil texture, and the initial groundwater levels. Our modelling framework and simulation results highlight the need to account for coupled thermal‐hydraulic‐mechanical‐chemical behaviours to better understand soil water and groundwater dynamics during freeze‐thaw cycles and further help explain the observed changes in water cycles and landscape evolution in cold regions. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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Quantifying seasonal, depression focused recharge in the context of public supply well vulnerability
Andrew J. Wiebe, Paul G. Menkveld, David L. Rudolph
Hydrological Processes, Volume 37, Issue 7

Abstract Depression focused recharge (DFR) may be a hydrologically important process that impacts the vulnerability of public supply wells, specifically related to pathogenic contaminants. The nature of DFR in glacial moraine environments, such as those located in northern latitudes within North America and Europe, is less well established than in other regions such as the Prairie Pothole Region (Northern United States, Western Canada) and the High Plains Aquifer (Central United States). The objectives of this study were to quantify seasonal infiltration flux beneath a topographically‐closed depression within 50 m of a public supply well and to interpret the impact of this DFR process on well vulnerability. Field instruments including groundwater monitoring wells, pressure transducers, soil moisture sensors and temperature sensors were installed in vertical clusters to capture the dynamics of infiltration, drainage and recharge within the depression feature. Continuous weather data were recorded by a meteorological station at the site. Transient infiltration was quantified during two contrasting hydrological events. The first event (~2 days) was an intense rainfall (>50 mm) on a melting snowpack during the fall season when the soils were unfrozen. The second was a longer (35 day) period during the spring freshet when the surficial soils were initially frozen and subject to diurnal freezing and thawing and occasional precipitation events. The water table fluctuation method augmented by Darcy flux contributions, in addition to numerical modelling using the HYDRUS‐1D model, were used to quantify recharge rates beneath the depression. Numerical DFR estimates and analytical results differed by ±8%. Results indicate that recharge rates on the order of the annual regional average can occur beneath localized features in response to extreme events associated with snowmelt and intense rainfall. Such events may represent a microbial threat to groundwater quality if public supply wells are located nearby.

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Vulnerabilidad de las aguas subterráneas en el Yukón y Northwest Territories (Canadá)
Andrew J. Wiebe, Jeffrey M. McKenzie, Edith Hamel, David L. Rudolph, Brendan Mulligan, Isabelle de Grandpré
Hydrogeology Journal


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A Coupled Thermal‐Hydraulic‐Mechanical Approach to Modeling the Impact of Roadbed Frost Loading on Water Main Failure
Xiang Huang, David L. Rudolph, Brittney Glass
Water Resources Research, Volume 58, Issue 3

Subsurface pipe failures in cold regions are generally believed to be exacerbated by differential strain in shallow soils induced by seasonal freeze and thaw cycles. The transient stress–strain fields resulting from soil water phase change may influence the occurrence of local buried pipe breaks including those related to urban water mains. This work proposes that freezing-induced frost loading results in uneven stress–strain distributions along the buried water mains placing them at risk of bending, breaking, and/or leaking. A coupled thermal-hydraulic-mechanical (THM) model was developed to illustrate the interactions among moisture, temperature, and stress–strain fields within variably saturated freezing soils. Several typical cases involving highly frost-susceptible and lower frost-susceptible soils underlying roadbeds were examined. Results show that the magnitude of frost-induced compressive stress and strain changes between different frost-susceptible soils can vary significantly. Such substantial differences in stress–strain fields would increase the breakage risk of water mains buried within different types of soils. Furthermore, even water mains buried within soils with low frost-susceptibility are at risk when additional sources of soil water exist and are available to migrate to the freezing front. To reduce the risk of damage to buried pipe-like infrastructure, such as municipal water mains, from soil freezing phenomena, the selected backfill material should have fairly consistent frost susceptibility or a broad zone of transition should be considered between materials with significantly different frost susceptibility. In addition, buried pipes should be kept as far away from external sources of subsurface water as possible considering the potential for the water source to exacerbate the level of risk to the pipe.

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Meteorological and hydrological data from the Alder Creek watershed, SW Ontario
Andrew J. Wiebe, David L. Rudolph
Earth System Science Data, Volume 14, Issue 7

Abstract. Data for small to mid-sized watersheds are seldom publicly available, but may be representative of diverse types of hydrological contexts when assessing patterns. These types of data may also prove valuable for informing numerical experimentation and practical modelling. This paper presents data collected in the Alder Creek watershed, located within the Grand River basin in Ontario, Canada. The Alder Creek watershed provides source water from the aquifers of the Waterloo Moraine for multiple well fields that supply the cities of Kitchener and Waterloo. Recharge rates and human impacts on streamflow are important topics for the watershed, and many numerical models of the area have been constructed. In order to support these types of analyses, field equipment was deployed within the watershed between 2013 and 2018 to monitor groundwater levels, stream stage, soil moisture, soil temperature, rainfall, and other weather parameters. The available data are described, complementary information is presented, and examples of possible analyses are cited and illustrated. The data presented and described in this paper are available at https://doi.org/10.20383/101.0178 (Wiebe et al., 2019).

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A hybrid analytical-numerical technique for solving soil temperature during the freezing process
Xiang Huang, David L. Rudolph
Advances in Water Resources, Volume 162

• A novel analytical-numerical scheme for calculating temperature profiles in porous media with temperature-dependent thermal properties during the freezing process; • The hybrid analytical-numerical method can deal with different types of nonlinear soil freezing functions; • Neumann's two-layer solution underestimates the penetration rate and depth of the freezing front; • The profiles of temperature, equivalent thermal conductivity and diffusivity, conductive heat flux, and dynamics of the freezing front were significantly impacted by the shape of the unfrozen water content curve and the magnitude of soil grain thermal conductivity. The freeze-thaw cycle associated with climatic seasonality is a common phenomenon in cold regions affecting a wide range of subsurface processes. Due to the complex and highly nonlinear nature of the associated hydrologic processes, transient freeze-thaw dynamics are conventionally quantified in a numerical way. Here we present a hybrid analytical-numerical scheme for solving one-dimensional soil (or porous media) temperature profiles when the soil profile is subjected to unidirectional freezing (or thawing) conditions. This scheme divides the partially-frozen soil into multi-layers, each with constant thermal parameters and fixed-temperature boundaries. Temperature profiles within each layer were obtained by solving multiple moving-boundary problems. The proposed hybrid analytical-numerical scheme was tested into a freezing test of silty clay in a permafrost region on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, and its solution was in good agreement with the finite element numerical solution. Results show that the proposed multi-layer method adapted well to the changes in unfrozen water content and thermal properties of soil over a wide range of subzero temperatures. By contrast, the freezing front's migration rate and penetration depth calculated by Neumann's classical solution, which only considers two zones (frozen and unfrozen), was found to be underestimated. As for our proposed multi-layer solution, by dividing the subsurface domain into many layers with smaller proportion ratios (thinner layers close to the freezing front), there was a slower penetration rate of the freezing front resulting in shallower penetration depth. The predicted profiles of temperature, thermal conductivity and diffusivity, heat flux, and dynamics of the freezing front were significantly impacted by the shape of the soil freezing curves and the magnitude of soil grain thermal conductivity, especially for the accuracy of long-term predictions.

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Nitrogen Leaching From Agricultural Soils Under Imposed Freeze-Thaw Cycles: A Column Study With and Without Fertilizer Amendment
Konrad Krogstad, Mehdi Gharasoo, Grant J. Jensen, Laura Hug, David L. Rudolph, Philippe Van Cappellen, Fereidoun Rezanezhad
Frontiers in Environmental Science, Volume 10

Cold regions are warming faster than the rest of the planet, with the greatest warming occurring during the winter and shoulder seasons. Warmer winters are further predicted to result in more frequent soil freezing and thawing events. Freeze-thaw cycles affect biogeochemical soil processes and alter carbon and nutrient export from soils, hence impacting receiving ground and surface waters. Cold region agricultural management should therefore consider the possible effects on water quality of changing soil freeze-thaw dynamics under future climate conditions. In this study, soil column experiments were conducted to assess the leaching of fertilizer nitrogen (N) from an agricultural soil during the non-growing season. Identical time series temperature and precipitation were imposed to four parallel soil columns, two of which had received fertilizer amendments, the two others not. A 15-30-15 N-P-K fertilizer (5.8% ammonium and 9.2% urea) was used for fertilizer amendments. Leachates from the soil columns were collected and analyzed for major cations and anions. The results show that thawing following freezing caused significant export of chloride (Cl − ), sulfate (SO 4 2− ) and nitrate (NO 3 − ) from the fertilizer-amended soils. Simple plug flow reactor model calculations indicated that the high NO 3 − concentrations produced during the fertilized soil thawing events were due to nitrification of fertilizer N in the upper oxidized portion of the soil. The very low concentrations of NO 3 − and ammonium in the non-fertilized soils leachates implied that the freeze-thaw cycles had little impact on the mineralization of soil organic N. The findings, while preliminary, indicate that unwanted N enrichment of aquifers and rivers in agricultural areas caused by fall application of N fertilizers may be exacerbated by changing freeze-thaw activity.

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Managing nitrogen legacies to accelerate water quality improvement
Nandita B. Basu, K. J. Van Meter, D. Byrnes, Philippe Van Cappellen, Roy Brouwer, Brian H. Jacobsen, Jerker Jarsjö, David L. Rudolph, Maria da Conceição Cunha, Natalie Nelson, Ruchi Bhattacharya, Søren Bøye Olsen
Nature Geoscience, Volume 15, Issue 2

Increasing incidences of eutrophication and groundwater quality impairment from agricultural nitrogen pollution are threatening humans and ecosystem health. Minimal improvements in water quality have been achieved despite billions of dollars invested in conservation measures worldwide. Such apparent failures can be attributed in part to legacy nitrogen that has accumulated over decades of agricultural intensification and that can lead to time lags in water quality improvement. Here, we identify the key knowledge gaps related to landscape nitrogen legacies and propose approaches to manage and improve water quality, given the presence of these legacies.

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In My Experience: The <i>Nature</i> of Groundwater Discharge
David L. Rudolph
Groundwater Monitoring & Remediation, Volume 42, Issue 3

Groundwater Monitoring & RemediationVolume 42, Issue 3 p. 131-132 In My Experience In My Experience: The Nature of Groundwater Discharge David Rudolph, Corresponding Author David Rudolph [email protected] Search for more papers by this author David Rudolph, Corresponding Author David Rudolph [email protected] Search for more papers by this author First published: 05 July 2022 https://doi.org/10.1111/gwmr.12540Read the full textAboutPDF ToolsRequest permissionExport citationAdd to favoritesTrack citation ShareShare Give accessShare full text accessShare full-text accessPlease review our Terms and Conditions of Use and check box below to share full-text version of article.I have read and accept the Wiley Online Library Terms and Conditions of UseShareable LinkUse the link below to share a full-text version of this article with your friends and colleagues. Learn more.Copy URL Share a linkShare onFacebookTwitterLinkedInRedditWechat No abstract is available for this article. Volume42, Issue3Special Issue with Focus on Data ManagementSummer 2022Pages 131-132 RelatedInformation


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Impact of Winter Soil Processes on Nutrient Leaching in Cold Region Agroecosystems
Konrad Krogstad, Grant J. Jensen, Mehdi Gharasoo, Laura Hug, David L. Rudolph, Philippe Van Cappellen, Fereidoun Rezanezhad

High-latitude cold regions are warming more than twice as fast as the rest of the planet, with the greatest warming occurring during the winter. Warmer winters are associated with shorter periods of snow cover, resulting in more frequent and extensive soil freezing and thawing. Freeze-thaw cycles influence soil chemical, biological, and physical properties and any changes to winter soil processes may impact carbon and nutrients export from affected soils, possibly altering soil health and nearby water quality. These impacts are relevant for agricultural soils and practices in cold regions as they are critical in governing water flows and quality within agroecosystems. In this study, a soil column experiment was conducted to assess the leaching of nutrients from fertilized agricultural soil during the non-growing season. Four soil columns were exposed to a non-growing season temperature and precipitation model and fertilizer amendments were made to two of the columns to determine the efficacy of fall-applied fertilizers and compared to other two unfertilized control columns. Leachates from the soil columns were collected and analyzed for cations and anions. The experiment results showed that a transition from a freeze period to a thaw period resulted in significant loss of chloride (Cl-), sulfate (SO42-) and nitrate (NO3-). Even with low NO3- concentrations in the applied artificial rainwater and fertilizer, high NO3- concentrations (~150 mg l-1) were observed in fertilized column leachates. Simple plug flow reactor model results indicate the high NO3- leachates are found to be due to active nitrification occurring in the upper oxidized portion of the soil columns mimicking overwinter NO3- losses via nitrification in agricultural fields. The low NO3- leachates in unfertilized columns suggest that freeze-thaw cycling had little effect on N mineralization in soil. Findings from this study will ultimately be used to bolster winter soil biogeochemical models by elucidating nutrient fluxes over changing winter conditions to refine best management practices for fertilizer application.

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Coupled model for water, vapour, heat, stress and strain fields in variably saturated freezing soils
Xiang Huang, David L. Rudolph
Advances in Water Resources, Volume 154

• Coupled modelling of water flow, heat transfer, water-ice phase change and ice lens formation in deformable, variably saturated freezing soils. • Moisture, vapour, temperature and stress-strain fields significantly interact with each other and should be fully accounted for within the modeling platform. • The large increases in effective stress ahead of the freezing front causes substantial compaction in the unfrozen zone. Although many frost heave and freezing soil models have been developed in the past decades, saturated conditions are commonly assumed and/or the behavior of pore ice rather than ice lenses are conventionally predicted. This study presents a fully coupled thermal-hydraulic-mechanical (THM) model for variably saturated freezing soil, which examines a number of processes. These include heat conduction and convection, phase change, water (moisture) movement through cryosuction, and the development of independent ice lenses. Instead of directly solving for the pore pressure distributions, the void ratio is considered as a dependent variable related to the degree of water saturation. Both the stress-deformation and ice lens segregation are inextricably linked to the evolution of the void ratio as well. The coupled mechanism and performance of the model is first verified by comparison with laboratory freezing experiment observations obtained from literature and then is further evaluated by a series of parametric analyses. The results show that the calculated profiles of temperature, water content and frost heave are in good agreement with literature experimental data, demonstrating that the proposed THM coupling model appropriately represents the mechanisms of heat-moisture-deformation in variably saturated freezing soil. In addition, the sensitivity analysis illustrates that in the test cases considered, thermally-induced cryosuction due to phase change is the main driving force for water migrating towards the freezing front. Also, ahead of the freezing front, a significant increase in effective stress developed due to the elevated negative pore pressure and expansion of ice lenses causing substantial consolidation and reduction in porosity in the unfrozen zone. As the freezing front penetrated with time, the temperature, moisture, vapour and stress-strain fields interact with each other. The distribution of water vapour was mainly controlled by the temperature gradient and location of the freezing front. Both the initial degree of saturation and hydraulic conductivity affected the distribution of pore pressure and displacements. Higher compression moduli and lower overburden load led to greater frost heave but exerted little influence on the temperature field. Finally, the two-sided freezing scenario for soils underlain by permafrost made the middle ice-poor zone highly compacted with ice lenses accumulating near both freezing boundaries.

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Impacts of Event-Based Recharge on the Vulnerability of Public Supply Wells
Andrew J. Wiebe, David L. Rudolph, Ehsan Pasha, Jacqueline Marie Brook, Mike Christie, Paul G. Menkveld
Sustainability, Volume 13, Issue 14

Dynamic recharge events related to extreme rainfall or snowmelt are becoming more common due to climate change. The vulnerability of public supply wells to water quality degradation may temporarily increase during these types of events. The Walkerton, ON, Canada, tragedy (2000) highlighted the threat to human health associated with the rapid transport of microbial pathogens to public supply wells during dynamic recharge events. Field research at the Thornton (Woodstock, ON, Canada) and Mannheim West (Kitchener, ON, Canada) well fields, situated in glacial overburden aquifers, identified a potential increase in vulnerability due to event-based recharge phenomena. Ephemeral surface water flow and local ponding containing microbial pathogen indicator species were observed and monitored within the capture zones of public supply wells following heavy rain and/or snowmelt. Elevated recharge rates beneath these temporary surface water features were estimated to range between 40 and 710 mm over two-week periods using analytical and numerical modelling based on the water level, soil moisture, and temperature data. Modelling also suggested that such events could reduce contaminant travel times to a supply well, increasing vulnerability to water quality degradation. These studies suggest that event-based recharge processes occurring close to public supply wells may enhance the vulnerability of the wells to surface-sourced contaminants.

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Identifying groundwater discharge zones in the Central Mackenzie Valley using remotely sensed optical and thermal imagery
Brittney Glass, David L. Rudolph, Claude R. Duguay, Andrew Wicke
Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, Volume 58, Issue 2

Landsat 4–5 Thematic Mapper, Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager, and RapidEye-3 data sets were used to identify potential groundwater discharge zones, via icings, in the Central Mackenzie Valley (CMV) of the Northwest Territories. Given that this area is undergoing active shale oil exploration and climatic changes, identification of groundwater discharge zones is of great importance both for pinpointing potential contaminant transport pathways and for characterizing the hydrologic system. Following the work of Morse and Wolfe (2015), a series of image algorithms were applied to imagery for the entire CMV and for the Bogg Creek watershed (a sub watershed of the CMV) for selected years between 2004 and 2017. Icings were statistically examined for all of the selected years to determine whether a significant difference in their spatial occurrence existed. It was concluded that there was a significant difference in the spatial distribution of icings from year to year (α = 0.05), but that there were several places where icings were recurring. During the summer of 2018, these recurrent icings, which are expected to be spring sourced, were verified using a thermal camera aboard a helicopter, as well as in situ measurements of hydraulic gradient, groundwater geochemistry, and electroconductivity. Strong agreement was found between the mapped icings and summer field data, making them ideal field monitoring locations. Furthermore, identifying these discharge points remotely is expected to have drastically reduced the field efforts that would have been required to find them in situ. This work demonstrates the value of remote sensing methods for hydrogeological applications, particularly in remote northern locations.


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On the sensitivity of modelled groundwater recharge estimates to rain gauge network scale
Andrew J. Wiebe, David L. Rudolph
Journal of Hydrology, Volume 585

Abstract Rainfall is often the largest component of the water budget and even a small uncertainty percentage may lead to challenges for accurately estimating groundwater recharge as a calculated residual within a water budget approach. Watersheds are a common scale for water budget assessment, and rainfall monitoring networks typically have widely spaced gauges that are frequently outside the watershed of interest. The effects of rainfall spatial variability and uncertainty on groundwater recharge estimates have received little attention and may influence water budget-derived recharge estimations. In the present study, the influence of spatial density in rainfall measurement on the numerical estimation of groundwater recharge was investigated through a series of modelling scenarios utilizing field data obtained from progressively denser rain gauge networks associated with a typical watershed in southern Ontario. The uncertainty of the recharge component of the water budget was used as a metric to aid interpretation of results. The scenarios employed networks composed of: 1) one nearby national weather station (within 3 km), 2) a regional network of six stations (within 30 km), and 3) a local network of six stations, five of which were within the selected watershed. A coupled and fully distributed hydrologic model (MIKE SHE) was used in the scenario analysis and applied to the Alder Creek watershed on the Waterloo Moraine near Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario. Rainfall showed poor spatial correlation, even at the daily time scale. Average annual results over a three-year period showed that recharge rates varied up to 140 mm per year (~40% of previously estimated annual recharge) among scenarios, with differences between scenarios greater than the water budget uncertainty during one of the years. These findings suggest that the availability of local rainfall measurements has the potential to influence the calibration of transient watershed hydrogeological models.