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Correcting Transit Time Distributions in Coarse MODFLOW-MODPATH Models

Authors

  • Daniel Abrams

    Corresponding author
      Corresponding author: School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University SPEA 412, Bloomington, IN 47405; (812) 339-5934; fax: (812) 855-7802; dbabrams@indiana.edu
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Corresponding author: School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University SPEA 412, Bloomington, IN 47405; (812) 339-5934; fax: (812) 855-7802; dbabrams@indiana.edu

Abstract

In low to medium resolution MODFLOW models, the area occupied by sink cells often far exceeds the surface area of the streams they represent. As a result, MODPATH will calculate inaccurate particle traces and transit times. A frequency distribution of transit times for a watershed will also be in error. Such a distribution is used to assess the long-term impact of nonpoint source pollution on surface waters and wells. Although the inaccuracies for individual particles can only be avoided by increased model grid resolution or other advanced modeling techniques, the frequency distribution can be improved by scaling the particle transit times by an adjustment factor during post-processing.

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