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Mathematical Descriptions of Preferential Flow: A Review

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  033106,  2003 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.15011) @2003
Authors:   Adel Shirmohammadi, Hubert J. Montas
Keywords:   Preferential flow, modeling, mechanistic, stochastic

Research has indicated that bypass flow due to the existence of preferential pathways results in fast leaching of solutes. This has promoted the scientists and engineers to develop appropriate mathematical algorithms capable of handling preferential transport. Both mechanistic and stochastic approaches have been used in this regard. This paper reviews some of these methods and provides a new 3-domain concept for handling infiltration in soils displaying preferential flow of water and solutes. The review concludes that mechanistic models are limited because of the need for accurate parameterization. I t also concluded that stochastic approaches often need proper data base to develop input probability distribution functions, which makes them time and cost prohibitive. Finally, it is suggesting a need for further research in order to both develop viable algorithms as well as reduce the limitations in data needs.

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