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Effects of capillarity and microtopography on wetland specific yield

January 1, 2007

Hydrologic models aid in describing water flows and levels in wetlands. Frequently, these models use a specific yield conceptualization to relate water flows to water level changes. Traditionally, a simple conceptualization of specific yield is used, composed of two constant values for above- and below-surface water levels and neglecting the effects of soil capillarity and land surface microtopography. The effects of capillarity and microtopography on specific yield were evaluated at three wetland sites in the Florida Everglades. The effect of capillarity on specific yield was incorporated based on the fillable pore space within a soil moisture profile at hydrostatic equilibrium with the water table. The effect of microtopography was based on areal averaging of topographically varying values of specific yield. The results indicate that a more physically-based conceptualization of specific yield incorporating capillary and microtopographic considerations can be substantially different from the traditional two-part conceptualization, and from simpler conceptualizations incorporating only capillarity or only microtopography. For the sites considered, traditional estimates of specific yield could underor over-estimate the more physically based estimates by a factor of two or more. The results suggest that consideration of both capillarity and microtopography is important to the formulation of specific yield in physically based hydrologic models of wetlands.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2007
Title Effects of capillarity and microtopography on wetland specific yield
DOI 10.1672/0277-5212(2007)27[693:EOCAMO]2.0.CO;2
Authors D. M. Sumner
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Wetlands
Index ID 70033316
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse