To explicitly simulate the soil thermal state effects on hydrological response, the soil thermal regime, frozen soil, and permafrost simulation capability in the Geophysical Institute Permafrost Laboratory (GIPL) model have been included into the physically based, distributed watershed model Gridded Surface Subsurface Hydrologic Analysis (GSSHA). The GIPL model is used to compute a vertical soil temperature profile in every lateral two-dimensional GSSHA computational element using the soil moisture information from hydrologic simulations in GSSHA; GSSHA, in turn, uses this temperature and phase, ice content, and information to adjust hydraulic conductivities for both the vertical unsaturated soil flow and lateral saturated groundwater flow. This two-way coupling increases computational accuracy in both models by providing additional information and processes not previously included in either. The soil moisture physical state is defined by the Richards Equation, and the soil thermal state is defined by the numerical model of phase change based on quasi-linear heat conduction equation. Results from the demonstration site, a head water sub-catchment at the peak of the Caribou-Poker Creeks Research Watershed, representing Alaskan woodland and tundra ecosystem in permafrost-active region, indicated that freezing temperatures reduce soil thermal conductivity and soil storage capacity, thereby increasing overland flow and peak discharges.
Part of the book: Hydrology