In this paper a formulation for layer averaged sub-surface moisture transport, that models the lateral flow, is developed using the Richard's equation. This formulation is consistent with the approach currently adopted in contemporary models used in land-atmosphere interaction studies. Explicit expressions are derived for layer averaged lateral transport contribution from diffusion, gravity, dispersion, and convergence due to land-surface curvature. It is argued that lateral contribution can be a significant component of the total soil-moisture flux. Ignoring these contributions can result in significant model error leading to inaccurate prediction or unrealistic calibration of parameters that compensate for these errors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)521-531
Number of pages11
JournalAdvances in Water Resources
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2004


  • Land-surface parameterization
  • Lateral transport
  • Richard's equation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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