The influence of soil texture and environmental conditions on frozen soil infiltration : A numerical investigation

Stuurop, Joris C.; Zee, Sjoerd E.A.T.M. van der; French, Helen K.


Frozen soil increases overland flow and flood risk, but the question remains under which conditions frozen soil significantly impedes infiltration. In this study, we simulated infiltration into frozen soil with a numerical model to investigate theoretical controls on frozen soil infiltration for several soil types. We found that the infiltration capacities of soils with intermediate texture are most significantly affected by freezing. Furthermore, we examined the influence of initial saturation, boundary temperature conditions and water input rate and found non-linear relationships with frozen soil infiltration. Freezing of infiltrated water particularly impeded infiltration. Two different temporal frozen soil infiltration regimes were detected. This study could help identify situations in which the impact of freezing on catchment hydrology is expected to be large. It also provides a starting point for further experimental work.