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Developing a national capability framework for testing integrated surface – groundwater models
The research project led by CEH ((NERC-funded) developed methods for designing and testing coupled models of cascading degrees of spatial complexity in order to better manage groundwater dependent ecosystems. The project used the CEH Boxford meadows (Berkshire) experimental site as a laboratory to evaluate approaches for providing the necessary field data to develop conceptual understanding of groundwater-wetland interactions and to subsequently develop and evaluate results from models ranging from simple water balance type approaches to fully distributed, physically based surface / unsaturated / saturated zone models operating at very fine spatial scales. The latter models were coupled to results from existing regional groundwater models providing a pioneering means of reconciling scale / computational resource mis-matches associated with the fine scale wetland modelling required for detailed impact assessment and the much larger scale regional aquifer models used for water resource management applications. Models were used to assess the impacts of climate change upon wetland hydrological conditions as well as potential ecological responses (vegetation, invertebrates, fish) within the wetland and adjacent watercourses.
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