Surface flow and subsurface flow constitute a naturally linked hydrologic continuum that has not traditionally been simulated in an integrated fashion. Recognizing the interactions between these systems has encouraged the development of integrated hydrologic models (IHMs) capable of treating surface and subsurface systems as a single integrated resource. IHMs are dynamically evolving with improvements in technology, and the extent of their current capabilities are often only known to the developers and not general users. This article provides an overview of the core functionality, capability, applications, and ongoing development of one open-source IHM, ParFlow. ParFlow is a parallel, integrated, hydrologic model that simulates surface and subsurface flows. ParFlow solves the Richards equation for three-dimensional variably saturated groundwater flow and the two-dimensional kinematic wave approximation of the shallow water equations for overland flow. The model employs a conservative centered finite-difference scheme and a conservative finite-volume method for subsurface flow and transport, respectively. ParFlow uses multigrid-preconditioned Krylov and Newton-Krylov methods to solve the linear and nonlinear systems within each time step of the flow simulations. The code has demonstrated very efficient parallel solution capabilities. ParFlow has been coupled to geochemical reaction, land surface (e.g., the Common Land Model), and atmospheric models to study the interactions among the subsurface, land surface, and atmosphere systems across different spatial scales. This overview focuses on the current capabilities of the code, the core simulation engine, and the primary couplings of the subsurface model to other codes, taking a high-level perspective.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Modeling and Simulation
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)