Groundwater flow and heat transport for systems undergoing freeze-thaw: Intercomparison of numerical simulators for 2D test cases

Christophe Grenier*, Hauke Anbergen, Victor Bense, Quentin Chanzy, Ethan Coon, Nathaniel Collier, François Costard, Michel Ferry, Andrew Frampton, Jennifer Frederick, Julio Gonçalvès, Johann Holmén, Anne Jost, Samuel Kokh, Barret Kurylyk, Jeffrey McKenzie, John Molson, Emmanuel Mouche, Laurent Orgogozo, Romain PannetierAgnès Rivière, Nicolas Roux, Wolfram Rühaak, Johanna Scheidegger, Jan Olof Selroos, René Therrien, Patrik Vidstrand, Clifford Voss

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


In high-elevation, boreal and arctic regions, hydrological processes and associated water bodies can be strongly influenced by the distribution of permafrost. Recent field and modeling studies indicate that a fully-coupled multidimensional thermo-hydraulic approach is required to accurately model the evolution of these permafrost-impacted landscapes and groundwater systems. However, the relatively new and complex numerical codes being developed for coupled non-linear freeze-thaw systems require verification. This issue is addressed by means of an intercomparison of thirteen numerical codes for two-dimensional test cases with several performance metrics (PMs). These codes comprise a wide range of numerical approaches, spatial and temporal discretization strategies, and computational efficiencies. Results suggest that the codes provide robust results for the test cases considered and that minor discrepancies are explained by computational precision. However, larger discrepancies are observed for some PMs resulting from differences in the governing equations, discretization issues, or in the freezing curve used by some codes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-218
JournalAdvances in Water Resources
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • Code benchmarking
  • Numerical simulation
  • Permafrost
  • Sharp interface problems
  • Thermo-hydrological coupling

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