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BioRT-HBV 1.0: a Biogeochemical Reactive Transport Model at the Watershed Scale
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  • Kayalvizhi Sadayappan,
  • Bryn Stewart,
  • Devon Kerins,
  • Andrew Vierbicher,
  • Wei Zhi,
  • Marc Vis,
  • Jan Seibert,
  • Li Li
Kayalvizhi Sadayappan
Dept. Civil & Environmental Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University;
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Bryn Stewart
Pennsylvania State University
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Devon Kerins
Dept. Civil & Environmental Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University
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Andrew Vierbicher
Penn State University
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Wei Zhi
University/Educational Institute
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Marc Vis
University of Zurich
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Jan Seibert
University of Zurich
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Li Li
Pennsylvania State University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Reactive Transport Models (RTMs) are essential for understanding and predicting intertwined ecohydrological and biogeochemical processes on land and in rivers. While traditional RTMs have focused primarily on subsurface processes, recent RTMs integrate hydrological and biogeochemical interactions between land surface and subsurface. These emergent, watershed-scale RTMs are often spatially explicit and require large amount of data and extensive computational expertise. There is however a pressing need to create parsimonious models that require less data and are accessible to scientists with less computational background. Here we introduce BioRT-HBV 1.0 (hereafter BioRT), a watershed-scale, hydro-biogeochemical model that builds upon the widely used, bucket-type HBV model (Hydrologiska Bryåns Vattenavdelning), known for its simplicity and minimal data requirements. BioRT uses the conceptual structure and hydrology output of HBV to simulate processes including solute transport and biogeochemical reactions driven by reaction thermodynamics and kinetics. These reactions include, for example, chemical weathering, soil respiration, and nutrient transformation. This paper presents the model structure and governing equations, demonstrates its utility with examples simulating carbon and nitrogen processes in a headwater catchment. As shown in the examples, when constrained by data, BioRT can be used to illuminate the dynamics of biogeochemical reactions in the invisible, arduous-to-measure subsurface, and their connections to observed solute export in streams and rivers. We posit that such parsimonious models increase model accessibility to users without in-depth computational training. It also can serve as an educational tool that promote pollination of ideas across different fields and foster a more diverse, equal, and inclusive user community.
10 Jan 2024Submitted to ESS Open Archive
18 Jan 2024Published in ESS Open Archive