A simulation analysis of the advective effect on evaporation using a two‐phase heat and mass flow model

Yijian Zeng, Zhongbo Su, Li Wan, Jun Wen

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The concept of enhanced vapor transfer in unsaturated soils has been questioned for its reliance on soil temperature gradient, which leads to consideration of other mechanisms of vapor transfer, e.g., advective vapor transfer due to soil air pressure gradient. Although the advective flux is an important portion of evaporation, there is a lack of knowledge of its effect on evaporation. In order to assess the dependence of evaporation on the soil air pressure gradient, a vertical one‐dimensional two‐phase heat and mass flow model is developed that fully considers diffusion, advection, and dispersion. The proposed model is calibrated with field measurements of soil moisture content and temperature in the Badain Jaran Desert. The proposed model is then used to investigate the advective effect in both low‐ and high‐permeability soils. The advective effect is reflected by underestimating evaporation when the airflow is neglected and is more evident in the low‐permeability soil. Neglecting airflow causes an underestimation error of 53.3% on the day right after a rainfall event in the low‐permeability soil (7.9 × 10−4 cm s−1) and 33.3% in the high‐permeability soil (2 × 10−3 cm s−1). The comparisons of driving forces and conductivities show that the isothermal liquid flux, driven by the soil matric potential gradient, is the main reason for the underestimation error.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberW10529
Number of pages18
JournalWater resources research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • METIS-304164


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