The impact of subsurface conceptualization on land energy fluxes

Laura E. Condon, Reed M. Maxwell, Subhrendu Gangopadhyay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


There is a significant body of work demonstrating the importance of hydrologic control on land energy feedbacks. Yet, quantitative data on aquifer conductivity can be difficult to assemble. Furthermore, how subsurface uncertainty propagates into land-surface processes is not well understood. This study analyzes the impact of aquifer characterization on land energy fluxes, using a coupled hydrology-land-surface model. Four gridded subsurface conductivity fields are developed for the Upper Klamath basin using two data sources and different levels of imposed heterogeneity. Each model is forced with the same transient, observed meteorology for 3. years prior to the final year presented here. Results are analyzed to quantify the impact of subsurface heterogeneity on groundwater surface water interactions and spatial patterns in hydrologic variables. Analysis shows that heterogeneity does not fundamentally alter the connection between groundwater and land surface processes. However, differences between scenarios impact the extent and location of the critical zone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-203
Number of pages16
JournalAdvances in Water Resources
StatePublished - Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology


  • Coupled systems
  • Groundwater surface-water interactions
  • Integrated hydrologic modeling
  • Subsurface heterogeneity


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