Deciphering spatio-temporal patterns and using reactive transport models to improve process and understanding
Dr. Bhavna Arora
Energy Geosciences Division
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Reactive transport models (RTMs) are essential tools to address a broad range of environmental problems such as acid mine drainage, radionuclide contamination, climate change and water resources management. The role of RTMs has been expanding in recent years to quantify processes from bedrock to canopy and from pore to watershed scales. However, this expanding role of RTMs brings significant scientific challenges, such as incorporating heterogeneity in models given that data are sparse, multi-sourced and convoluted. In addition, predicting future ecosystem response is problematic because different spatio-temporal factors impact system behavior and need to be represented adequately in models.
In this seminar, I will present (1) newly developed strategies to interrogate multi-scale multi-type datasets, (2) model-data integration to incorporate heterogeneity and improve process understanding, and (3) a comparison of modeling approaches to predict system evolution. The flexibility and value of these approaches will be demonstrated using real-world applications: (1) identifying key temporal drivers of greenhouse gas fluxes at a high-latitude Arctic location near Barrow, Alaska, (2) evaluating the impact of these temporal drivers (hot moments) as well as hot spots on subsurface carbon fluxes using a reactive transport model, and (3) benchmarking reactive transport models in their treatment of the processes involved in metal release and attenuation due to mining activities. The seminar will conclude with a discussion of the possibilities to advance the use of reactive transport models and future research opportunities therein.