The Multi-Scale Hydrology Group is a research group lead by Dr. Rabi Mohtar in the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department at Purdue University.

Hydrologic scaling and transfer across scales is one of the major challenges facing the soil and water discipline. The goal of the research group is the development of a unique new modeling paradigm that allows improved field water management through greater accuracy of prediction of contaminant transport and transfer, and incorporation of over burden pressure in the representative element structural volume. The modeling tools being developed within the research group characterize soil water medium using shrinkage, swelling, water potential properties and stress-strain relationships within the medium. They also provide a systematic procedure for up-scaling the local soil water medium (pedostructure) processes to the pedon, field, and watershed scales.

An integrated laboratory-field and modeling activities to help characterize and model the multi-scale system is underway. Laboratory measurements of stresses, water potential, volume change, conductivity are being conducted to characterize soil water dynamics. These measurements are being used to conceptualize a soil water medium representation. Field measurements are collected to help develop crossing scales relationships and to evaluate the modeling tools being developed. In addition to the impact on the scientific community and the numerous technical publications completed, this work was introduced to classroom and found very effective in addressing issues of scale to users (students).

The modeling technology is changing the way researchers characterize and model porous media and has been adopted by one of Europe’s largest agronomic modeling projects: SEAMLESS (System for Environmental and Agricultural Modeling: Linking European Science and Society). The work on pedostructure is recognized as pioneering in the emerging field of Hydropedology (which integrates hydrology, soil physics and pedology).