Abstract

Understanding infiltration into soils from rainfall events is important for many practical applications. The idea of time compression approximation (TCA) was proposed to simulate infiltration rate, which only requires the relationship between the potential infiltration rate (PIR) and potential cumulative infiltration (PCI). The TCA-based method can be used in any rainfall–runoff models since the PIR vs. PCI relationship can be developed independent of actual rainfall patterns. The main objective of this study is to establish guidelines on when this method can be adequately applied. The results based on the TCA are compared with those from the field observations and the Richards equation numerical solver for observed rainfall events and randomly generated rainfall patterns with prescribed temporal variabilities and hiatuses. For continuous rainfall with potential ponding, the maximum error of infiltration amount using the TCA-based method is less than 5%. The TCA-based method, in general, underestimates the total infiltration amount from variable rainfall events. Variance in rainfall time series does not significantly affect the errors of using the TCA-based method to determine the actual infiltration rate. The TCA-based method can produce reasonable results in simulating the actual infiltration rate for rainfall events with a short hiatus.

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