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Groundwater dynamics and management

Keywords: porous media, heterogeneity, model reduction, inverse problems, risk analysis
Fig. 1. Heterogeneous hydraulic conductivity field (Author: Vittorio Di Federico)
Fig. 2. Numerical model of groundwater body (Author: Vittorio Di Federico)
Fig. 3. Modeling of ground heat exchangers (Author: Vittorio Di Federico)

The aim of the research consists in developing realistic models for the description of fluid flow, and conservative or reactive solute transport in porous media. The subsurface environment is strongly heterogeneous and the impossibility of a detailed characterization, based on field data, compromises the accuracy of predictions and leads necessarily to the adoption of probabilistic modeling incorporating multiscale representations of media. In addition, climate change and anthropic pressures concur to define complex scenarios involving, e.g., groundwater exploitation, contamination, saltwater intrusion and surface water–groundwater interactions. These scenarios are investigated by means of accurate and efficient computational methods for the quantification of uncertainties, in order to provide robust predictions and indications for the management of water resources and the design of proper mitigation actions. These computational methods consist in the application of model reduction algorithms that allow to perform risk analysis, global sensitivity analysis, calibration and optimization problems (including ecodesign solutions), in a straightforward manner. This approach is applied to specific research lines, including: (i) analysis of quantitative and qualitative status of groundwater bodies, under present and future scenarios, in line with the European directives and guidelines (ii) socioeconomic and hydrological dynamics affecting groundwater resources in coastal areas, (iii) interactions between agriculture and water resources in rural areas, (iv) evaluation of local contamination processes due to accidental hydrocarbon releases from onshore pipelines and efficiency of remediation techniques, (v) design optimization of geothermal devices for the improvement of thermal efficiency and environmental compliance.

Some of the indicated activities are carried out in collaboration with international research groups, environmental protection agencies, public administrations, agricultural consortia, multiutilities operating in the management of the integrated water cycle.

Main publications

Ciriello V., Edery Y., Guadagnini A., Berkowitz B. (2015). Multimodel framework for characterization of transport in porous media. Water Resources Research, 51:3384-3402.
Felisa G., Ciriello V., Antonellini M., Di Federico V., Tartakovsky D.M. (2015). Data-driven models of groundwater salinization in coastal plains. Journal of Hydrology, 531:187-197.

Ciriello V., Bottarelli M., Di Federico V., Tartakovsky D.M. (2015). Temperature fields induced by geothermal devices. Energy, 93(2):1896-1903.

Lauriola I., Ciriello V., Marcaccio M. (2015). Dinamiche di ricarica nella conoide del Trebbia. Ecoscienza, 2, pp. 70-72.

Lauriola I., Felisa G., Marcaccio M., Ciriello V. (2015). Surface water-groundwater interaction and nitrate persistence in unconfined highconductivity aquifers investigated via time series analysis. In: AIIA 2015 International Mid-Term Conference Abstracts, p.1.

Ciriello V., Bottarelli M., Di Federico V. (2015). Uncertainty-based Analysis of Variations in Subsurface Thermal Field Due to Horizontal Flat-panel Heat Exchangers. Procedia Environmental Sciences, 25:50-57.

Ciriello V., Guadagnini A., Di Federico V., Edery Y., Berkowitz B. (2013). Comparative analysis of formulations for conservative transport in porous media through sensitivity-based parameter calibration. Water Resources Research, 49:5206– 5220.

Bottarelli M., Fujii H., Di Federico V. (2015). Ground heat transfer from a drainage trench, Special Topics & Reviews in Porous Media, 6(2), 185–195

Ciriello V., Di Federico V., Riva M., Cadini F., De Sanctis J., Zio E., Guadagnini A. (2013). Polynomial chaos expansion for global sensitivity analysis applied to a model of radionuclide migration in a randomly heterogeneous aquifer. Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment, 27, 945-954.

Bottarelli M., Di Federico V. (2012). Numerical comparison between two advanced HGHEs. International Journal of Low-Carbon Technologies 7(2), 75-81.

Ciriello V., Di Federico V. (2012). Similarity solutions for flow of non-Newtonian fluids in porous media revisited under parameter uncertainty. Advances in Water Resources, 43:38-51.

Di Federico V., Pinelli M., Ugarelli R. (2010). Estimates of effective permeability for non- Newtonian fluid flow in randomly heterogeneous porous media. Stochastic Environmental Research and Risk Assessment 24, 1067-1076.

Cintoli S., Neuman S. P., Di Federico V. (2005). Generating and scaling fractional Brownian motion on finite domains. Geophysical Research Letters 32, L08404.

Neuman S. P., Di Federico V. (2003). Multifaceted nature of hydrogeologic scaling and its interpretation. Reviews of Geophysics 41(3), 1014.

Hyun Y., Neuman S.P., Vesselinov V.V., Illman W.A., Tartakovsky D.M., Di Federico V. (2002). Theoretical interpretation of a pronounced permeability scale effect in unsaturated fractured tuff. Water Resources Research 38(6), 281-288.

Di Federico V., Neuman S. P., Tartakovsky D.M. (1999). Anisotropy, lacunarity, and upscaled conductivity and its autocovariance in multiscale random fields with truncated power variograms. Water Resources Research, 35(10):2891-2908.

Di Federico V., Neuman S. P. (1998). Flow in multiscale log conductivity fields with truncated power variograms. Water Resources Research, 34(5):975-987.

Di Federico V., Neuman S. P. (1998). Transport in multiscale log conductivity fields with truncated power variograms. Water Resources Research, 34(5):963-973.

Di Federico V., Neuman S. P. (1997). Scaling of random fields by means of truncated power variograms and associated spectra. Water Resources Research, 33(5):1075-1085.

Research projects

National Project funded by the Italian Ministry of Research, Project: Subsurface fluxes in heterogeneous geologic media, 2000-2002.