Document Type


Source Publication Title

Water Resources Research



The macroscale roughness of the soil surface has significant influences on the mass/energy interactions between the subsurface and the atmosphere during evaporation. However, most previous works only consider evaporation behavior from flat surfaces. Based on experimental and numerical approaches, the goal of this work is to provide a framework for the understanding of the mechanisms of evaporation from irregular soil surfaces at representative elementary volume scale. A coupling free flow-porous media flow model was developed to describe evaporation under nonisothermal conditions. For simplicity, sinusoidal-type wavy surfaces were considered. To validate this modeling approach, an experiment using an open-ended wind tunnel and soil tank was conducted. The experimental system was instrumented with various environmental sensors to continuously collect atmospheric and subsurface data. Results demonstrate that the surface roughness directly affects both atmospheric and diffusion-dominated stages I and II evaporation behavior, respectively. The atmospheric conditions directly affect the boundary layer during stage I. The evaporation rate is determined by the diffusion in the boundary layer, but not that in the porous media. The soil properties exert intrinsic influence on the capillary flow and determine the evaporation amount. The complex interaction between capillarity and the boundary layer leads to a heterogeneous distribution of evaporative flux with undulation (i.e., location along the soil surface) and time. Additionally, more and steeper waves indicate more influence from capillary flow, enhancing evaporation compared to a single wave system with the same wave amplitude, while steeper waves also result in a thicker boundary layer and weaken evaporation.


Civil and Environmental Engineering | Civil Engineering | Engineering

Publication Date





© 2017 American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved.