Field scale heterogeneity of redox conditions in till-upscaling to a catchment nitrate model

J.R. Hansen, V. Ernstsen, J.C. Refsgaard, S. Hansen

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21 Citations (Scopus)


Point scale studies in different settings of glacial geology show a large local variation of redox conditions. There is a need to develop an upscaling methodology for catchment scale models. This paper describes a study of field-scale heterogeneity of redox-interfaces in a till aquitard within an area of 600 × 600 m. The results showed significant variation of the depths to the redox-interface and thickness of the aquitard. Nitrate was present above the redox-interface but reduced to non-detectable levels a few metres below the interface. An upscaling approach for an area of 92 km2 is proposed. Two models are proposed to predict the depth to the redox-interface in the aquitard and the resulting nitrate recharge concentrations to an underlying aquifer. The first model assumes that the depth to the redox-interface reflects the hydraulic head in the aquitard, and the second model assumes that the depth of the redox-interface is randomly distributed according to a log-normal probability distribution function. The upscaling approach using the random redox model estimated recharge concentrations comparable to the observed concentration in the underlying aquifer. The presented upscaling approach is applicable in distributed catchment models where sub-grid variability cannot be represented by the large grids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1251-1266
Number of pages16
JournalHydrogeology Journal
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008


  • Denmark
  • Groundwater modelling
  • Heterogeneity
  • Nitrate
  • Redox-interface
  • Unconsolidated sediments

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 2: Water Resources


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