Terrestrial Environmental Physics

  • Terrestrial Environmental Physics
  • Lecturer: PD Dr. G. Kirchner

Lecture content:

The objective of terrestrial enviromental physics is to study fluxes of
energy and matter in soils and at their interfaces to the atmosphere and to
marine ecosystems.

The lecture focuses on three main subjects:

1. First, the physical characteristics of soils as porous media are presented and both macroscopic and microscopic approaches to characterise them are discussed.

2. Based on the potential concept, in the second part the physical equations for describing the dynamics of water in soils (Darcy equation, Richards equation) are derived and numerical solution techniques (finite differences, finite elements) are discussed.

3. The third part presents the physical processes governing the transport of (trace) solutes in soils (diffusion. convection, dispersion) and discusses their physico-chemical interaction processes at the soil/water interface. Laboratory approaches to study the mobility of trace substances in soils are presented and their advantages & limitations are discussed.

The course will elaborate on the main subjects presented in the basic course on the subject (Lecturer: Helmut Fischer) presenting additional physical in-depth discussions and giving additional examples, but can be attended as a stand-alone course also.