Seasonal School 1 - Modelling I

The Modelling I seasonal school was initially planned to take place in late summer/early fall of 2020 in Barcelona, Spain, at the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya (UPC). However, its organisation and course was significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. After it became clear that the situation would not improve again in the short term, it was decided to hold the training event as an online event which was eventually performed by holding lectures, exercises and holding discussions via the Google Meet video conferencing tool, focussing on the Groundwater Modelling component with special emphasis on reactive modelling and biogeochemical processes. The activities took place from October to December 2020.

The training activity was organised by the UPC partner Prof. Xavier Sánchez-Vila with support by research fellows Rodrigo Pérez Illanes and Vera Behle. The course objective was to introduce students to reactive transport modelling, considering both practical and theoretical approaches. From a practical perspective, the experience considered applications of the PHREEQC software to chemical speciation problems, which in some cases was complemented with external post-processing tools based on MS-Excel, MATLAB or PYTHON. Further, practical aspects were also addressed by means of personal homework and tasks based on the course topics, in which every student solves a problem with the tools they consider as suitable.

Theoretical aspects were also discussed, including a general revision of mathematical methods employed during the formulation of reactive processes, considering techniques for reducing the order of chemical systems and a characterization of representative chemical systems related to subsurface transport. The effects of spatial heterogeneities in aquifer systems and its influence on solute transport in porous media was also discussed considering experimental results reported in literature. The latter allowed the students to visualize the consequences of medium variability on transport patterns and the uncertainty of modelling results introduced by the interaction of groundwater flow and heterogeneous material distributions.

Course materials were made available for each class on the UPC Teaching Support E-Platform Atenea. They are also available on the MARSoluT internal cloud server in order to allow non-participating project members to receive the relevant contents. Furthermore, all sessions were recorded and uploaded to the platform as well. During each lecture the opportunity was given to ask questions, and lecturers offered the students the opportunity to contact them by e-mail in case of further questions.

The planned site visit of the Llobregat case study, a site close to Barcelona, had to be postponed. The project group will monitor and assess the situation in Europe to see when the pandemic situation allows to conduct such site visits and associated travel in the future.


Screenshot Modelling School I
Modelling School I (Photo: A. Wefer-Roehl/TUDa)


MARSoluT - Managed Aquifer Recharge Solutions Training Network - is a four-year Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) Innovative Training Network (ITN) funded by the European Commission.

Coordination & Contact:

Prof. Dr. Christoph Schüth

Darmstadt Technical University
Applied Geosciences
Schnittspahnstr. 9
64287 Darmstadt

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