Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Water Resour. Res.

Volume

48

Issue

9

Publisher

American Geophysical Union

Publication Date

9-2012

Abstract

Evaporation from soil and other porous media constitutes a significant source of water loss affecting global water balance and energy exchange between land and atmosphere. The presence of a shallow water table can lead to sustained water loss that is dependent on porous media hydraulic properties and water table depth among other factors. In this paper, an exact analytical solution to steady state evaporation from porous media is developed using the Brooks-Corey hydraulic conductivity model. The solution is presented in terms of a set of infinite series. An advantage of this solution compared to previous derivations is that the infinite series can be very closely approximated using a closed-form solution (i.e., excluding integrals or series). The novel solution shows excellent agreement with the exact solution for a broad range of soil texture from sand to clay. The applicability of the solution to predict the location of the drying front was also verified using experimental data taken from the literature. The solution may be used for directly modeling steady state evaporation or for inverse determination of the Brooks-Corey hydraulic parameters.