Method for indirect determination of soil parameters for numerical simulation of dikes and earth dams

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review



One of the most important steps in the numerical simulation of a hydrogeological system is the precise definition of initial and boundary conditions. The better these are characterized, the more efficient the calculation and the more accurate are the simulation result. In case of simulating processes in the unsaturated soil zone, the water retention curve, the relationship between volumetric water content and matric potential, is of great importance. However, the retention parameters determined locally by different standard methods often do not represent the whole soil system under consideration due to heterogeneities in the soil body caused by variability or different compaction of the soil. Resulting over- or underestimation of the parameters is leading to a worse performance of simulations of the water balance including to a higher calibration effort. Therefore, it is more favorable to identify these soil parameters by a method representing the whole soil system to avoid uncertainties. For this reason, a dike experiment was performed to investigate how soil parameters determined locally and globally can represent the properties of the whole soil system. When comparing the simulation results of the numerical models, a better agreement of measured and simulated water contents as well as a lower effort for calibration is observed by using the soil parameters determined globally.


Original languageEnglish
Article number245
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Water Science
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 6 Oct 2022

External IDs

WOS 000864638200002
Mendeley 93d0d7b7-4c58-3ff7-aee0-279b7e67a39e


ASJC Scopus subject areas


  • Dike experiment, Numerical simulation, Parameter uncertainty, Soil water retention curve, Unsaturated soil zone

Library keywords