EGU23-200, updated on 29 Nov 2023
EGU General Assembly 2023
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

A critical review of solute mixing and transport approaches in karstic groundwater modelling and key challenges

Kübra Özdemir Çallı1, Süleyman Selim Çallı2, Daniel Bittner3,1, Gabriel Chiogna4,5, and Andreas Hartmann1
Kübra Özdemir Çallı et al.
  • 1Technische Universität Dresden, Institute of Groundwater Management, Dresden, Germany (
  • 2Faculty of Engineering, Geological Engineering Department, Ankara University, Ankara, Turkey
  • 3Erftverband, Department of River Basin Management, Am Erftverband 6, 50126 Bergheim, Germany
  • 4Faculty of Civil, Geo, and Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Munich, Arcisstr. 21, 80333 Munich, Germany
  • 5Institute of Geography, University of Innsbruck, Innrain 52, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria

Modelling solute mixing and transport processes is one of the key steps to effectively managing karstic groundwater resources, particularly under the threat of climate change and risk of contamination. For that reason, a considerable body of literature has been devoted to understanding and describing solute mixing and transport processes in karst aquifers. However, due to the strong multiscale heterogeneity (from microscale to aquifer scale), modelling solute mixing and transport processes in karst aquifers remains a challenging task. This presentation critically reviews the current state of knowledge and fundamental challenges in the modelling of solute mixing and transport processes in karst aquifers, thereby collocating and synthesizing the existing body of knowledge in the literature. To provide a holistic and objective picture of the state-of-the-art of the solute mixing and transport modelling, we performed a bibliometric analysis on the relevant literature for karst groundwater studies (over 2800 scientific papers). Further, with a meta-analysis of scientific papers focusing on the quantitative tracer tests, we evaluated the field-based transport parameters that are typically served for the solute mixing and transport models.

The review unveils the fundamental modelling hinges underlying a successful modelling practice for the solute mixing and transport processes in karst, thereby discussing to what extent and in what ways we are dealing with these challenges. The major modelling challenges are defined as follows: (i) Model conceptualization based on data collection and system understanding (e.g., How well is the problem of interest defined? To what extent is the domain of interest described?), ii) Model selection considering the choice of a dominant physicochemical process (e.g., How well is the process of interest represented by a set of governing equations over the problem domain?), iii) Time-variability of solute mixing and transport processes (e.g., To what extent do the parameters represent the process of interest under the different time-scales?), iv) Model parametrization considering the parameter non-uniqueness and transferability (e.g., How realistic are the model parameters? To which extent are they transferable over the same aquifer?), v) Uncertainty quantification in model results (e.g., How robust are the model results? How much are we (un)certain about our model?). Finally, we address potential research directions and knowledge gaps by encouraging the community for building a protocol for solute transport modelling in karst aquifers, as well as providing more transparent and reproducible results.

How to cite: Özdemir Çallı, K., Çallı, S. S., Bittner, D., Chiogna, G., and Hartmann, A.: A critical review of solute mixing and transport approaches in karstic groundwater modelling and key challenges, EGU General Assembly 2023, Vienna, Austria, 23–28 Apr 2023, EGU23-200,, 2023.