A comparison of numerical and Lu modeling of water flow and heat transport with laboratory experiments

  • Jie RenEmail author
  • Wenbing Zhang
  • Jie Yang
  • Zhenzhong Shen
  • Jian Zhao
  • Yinjun Zhou
  • Zhenhua Wang
Original Article


Reservoirs are considered to result in significant changes to river water temperature. Discharge of deep water has a large impact on aquatic ecosystems downstream of dam and on both river banks. A laboratory sand tank test investigation was conducted to simulate water flow and thermal dynamics in the riparian zone. The sand temperature (ST) data generated were used to validate and compare HYDRUS-2D, a physically based numerical model, with Lu et al.’s (Soil Sci Soc Am J 71(1):8–14, 2007) soil thermal conductivity model under different water temperature, hydraulic head and radiation temperature conditions. The Richards model and the heat conduction model were coupled through the Horton thermal conductivity model and the Lu et al. (Soil Sci Soc Am J 71(1):8–14, 2007) model, respectively. The results demonstrated the success of model coupling and its application for investigating water flow and thermal dynamics in the riparian zone. The Lu et al. (Soil Sci Soc Am J 71(1):8–14, 2007) model based on COMSOL and the Horton thermal conductivity model based on HYDRUS each had their own advantages. Global analysis showed that the Lu et al. (Soil Sci Soc Am J 71(1):8–14, 2007) model was better able to simulate the riparian zone temperature field under the investigated experimental conditions. The sensitivity analysis results showed that the parameters nv, T and H had a considerable influence on the temperature field in the model, of which nv was the most sensitive, whereas the parameters ks, α, θs, and θr were relatively less sensitive to the temperature field.


Water temperature Riparian zone HYDRUS-2D Lu et al. (2007) model Sensitivity analysis 



This study was funded by CRSRI Open Research Program (Grant No. CKWV2017500/KY), and National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51679194).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

No conflicts of the interest are declared.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jie Ren
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Wenbing Zhang
    • 1
  • Jie Yang
    • 1
  • Zhenzhong Shen
    • 2
  • Jian Zhao
    • 2
  • Yinjun Zhou
    • 3
  • Zhenhua Wang
    • 4
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Eco-hydraulics in Northwest Arid Region of ChinaXi’an University of TechnologyXi’anChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Hydrology-Water Resources and Hydraulic EngineeringHohai UniversityNanjingChina
  3. 3.Changjiang River Scientific Research InstituteWuhanChina
  4. 4.College of Water & Architectural EngineeringShihezi UniversityShiheziChina

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