Transport processes in the vadose zone
Water which seeps through soil sometimes has to penetrate layers several metres thick before it finally gets into the groundwater from the surface. The soil layers, especially when they contain clay and humus, work like a natural filter and can retain toxic substances or break them down. These functions of soils have quite substantial consequences on the quality of the groundwater. Methods and models to assess soil water dynamics and transport processes in the vadose zone as well as solute input into the groundwater are, therefore, of decisive significance. They help to resolve issues relevant to everyday practices, in particular in the field of precautionary measures relating to soil and groundwater protection.
With these models and methods thematic maps related to soil protection can be produced and they are an important basis for advice and decision-making when it comes to soil and groundwater protection. The data necessary for these maps are gained from soil science evaluation methods developed, assessed and documented by the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources.