The effect of chalk representation in land surface modelling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

317 Downloads (Pure)


Modelling and monitoring of hydrological processes in the unsaturated zone of the chalk, which is a porous medium with fractures, is important to optimize water resources assessment and management practices in the United Kingdom (UK). However, efficient simulations of water movement through chalk unsaturated zone is difficult mainly due to the fractured nature of chalk, which creates high-velocity preferential flow paths in the subsurface. Complex hydrology in the chalk aquifers may also influence land surface mass and energy fluxes because processes in the hydrological cycle are connected via non-linear feedback mechanisms. In this study, it is hypothesized that explicit representation of chalk hydrology in a land surface model influences land surface processes by affecting water movement through the shallow subsurface. In order to substantiate this hypothesis, a macroporosity parameterization is implemented in the Joint UK Land Environment Simulator (JULES), which is applied on a study area encompassing the Kennet catchment in the Southern UK. The simulation results are evaluated using field measurements and satellite remote sensing observations of various fluxes and states in the hydrological cycle (e.g., soil moisture, runoff, latent heat flux) at two distinct spatial scales (i.e., point and catchment). The results reveal the influence of representing chalk hydrology on land surface mass and energy balance components such as surface runoff and latent heat flux via subsurface processes (i.e., soil moisture dynamics) in JULES, which corroborates the proposed hypothesis.
Original languageEnglish
Article number244
Number of pages38
JournalHydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussions
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2016


  • Chalk hydrology
  • macroporosity
  • land surface modelling
  • bulk conductivity model


Dive into the research topics of 'The effect of chalk representation in land surface modelling'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this