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J Contam Hydrol. 2009 Feb 16;104(1-4):36-60. doi: 10.1016/j.jconhyd.2008.10.003. Epub 2008 Oct 17.

A review of model applications for structured soils: b) Pesticide transport.

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Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research--UFZ, Theodor-Lieser-Strasse 4, D-06120 Halle (Saale), Germany.


The past decade has seen considerable progress in the development of models simulating pesticide transport in structured soils subject to preferential flow (PF). Most PF pesticide transport models are based on the two-region concept and usually assume one (vertical) dimensional flow and transport. Stochastic parameter sets are sometimes used to account for the effects of spatial variability at the field scale. In the past decade, PF pesticide models were also coupled with Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and groundwater flow models for application at the catchment and larger regional scales. A review of PF pesticide model applications reveals that the principal difficulty of their application is still the appropriate parameterization of PF and pesticide processes. Experimental solution strategies involve improving measurement techniques and experimental designs. Model strategies aim at enhancing process descriptions, studying parameter sensitivity, uncertainty, inverse parameter identification, model calibration, and effects of spatial variability, as well as generating model emulators and databases. Model comparison studies demonstrated that, after calibration, PF pesticide models clearly outperform chromatographic models for structured soils. Considering nonlinear and kinetic sorption reactions further enhanced the pesticide transport description. However, inverse techniques combined with typically available experimental data are often limited in their ability to simultaneously identify parameters for describing PF, sorption, degradation and other processes. On the other hand, the predictive capacity of uncalibrated PF pesticide models currently allows at best an approximate (order-of-magnitude) estimation of concentrations. Moreover, models should target the entire soil-plant-atmosphere system, including often neglected above-ground processes such as pesticide volatilization, interception, sorption to plant residues, root uptake, and losses by runoff. The conclusions compile progress, problems, and future research choices for modelling pesticide displacement in structured soils.

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