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Solute transport by surface runoff from low-angle slopes: theory and application

Walton, R.S., Volker, R.E., Bristow, K.L. and Smettem, K.R.J.ORCID: 0000-0003-2650-4429 (2000) Solute transport by surface runoff from low-angle slopes: theory and application. Hydrological Processes, 14 (6). pp. 1139-1158.

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The removal of chemicals in solution by overland flow from agricultural land has the potential to be a significant source of chemical loss where chemicals are applied to the soil surface, as in zero tillage and surface-mulched farming systems. Currently, we lack detailed understanding of the transfer mechanism between the soil solution and overland flow, particularly under field conditions. A model of solute transfer from soil solution to overland flow was developed. The model is based on the hypothesis that a solute is initially distributed uniformly throughout the soil pore space in a thin layer at the soil surface. A fundamental assumption of the model is that at the time runoff commences, any solute at the soil surface that could be transported into the soil with the infiltrating water will already have been convected away from the area of potential exchange. Solute remaining at the soil surface is therefore not subject to further infiltration and may be approximated as a layer of tracer on a plane impermeable surface. The model fitted experimental data very well in all but one trial. The model in its present form focuses on the exchange of solute between the soil solution and surface water after the commencement of runoff. Future model development requires the relationship between the mass transfer parameters of the model and the time to runoff to be defined. This would enable the model to be used for extrapolation beyond the specific experimental results of this study. The close agreement between experimental results and model simulations shows that the simple transfer equation proposed in this study has promise for estimating solute loss to surface runoff.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Wiley
Copyright: © 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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