Abstract

A methodology for evaluating the unconditional and conditional moments of travel time for a sorbing solute is presented. The approach is applicable for any flow configuration and for a wide range of mass transfer rate‐limited linear processes. The methodology is applicable to the general case of spatially variable hydrological and chemical parameters. The sorption model used to derive the temporal moments is that of a continuous distribution of mass rate coefficients [Haggerty and Gorelick, 1998]. Models such as instantaneous equilibrium, first‐order and two‐site sorption kinetics, among others, can be considered as particular cases of this general model. Using a deterministic approach, the low‐order moments of the breakthrough curves for reactive solutes can be obtained as a function of those for conservative tracers. Using a stochastic approach, the unconditional low‐order statistics of the travel time moments can be obtained. These moments depend on the statistics of two Lagrangian functions, the travel time for a conservative solute, and an integral of the variations of the chemical parameters weighted by the inverse local velocity along the trajectory. Finally, conditional temporal moments are derived. Moments can be conditioned to any type of information, hard or soft, hydraulic or geochemical. Conditioning is found to reduce uncertainty, characterized by a reduction in the variance of the travel time. The general results are particularized for both uniform in the mean and convergent flow conditions and for simple sorption models such as linear instantaneous equilibrium and first‐order kinetics. In all such cases, close‐form results, based on small perturbations expansions, are presented for the travel time moments

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Published on 01/01/2003

DOI: 10.1029/2002WR001399
Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

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