Conference Paper

An Optimization Algorithm For Interpreting Thermal Parameters For Frozen Soils With Significant Unfrozen Water Content

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In this study we develop an optimization scheme for establishing thermal parameters of permafrost soils, based on heat pulse measurements. The method is applied to measurements on a sand sample and a clayey silt sample. Acceptable fits are obtained with porosity and freezing point constrained, and all other parameters free – resulting in good reproduction of pulse amplitude and dispersion.

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The purpose is to describe the construction and performance of a device for measuring specific heat using the line source method. The device was constructed from two hypodermic needles; one needle contained a heater and the other a thermocouple. The temperature rise from heat pulses were measured with the thermocouple. Since water is the main variable component of the specific heat in nonswelling soil, changes in water content might be resolved to 0.01 or better in nonswelling soils. -from Authors
A variational data assimilation algorithm is developed to reconstruct thermal properties, porosity, and parametrization of the unfrozen water content for fully saturated soils. The algorithm is tested with simulated synthetic temperatures. The simulations are performed to determine the robustness and sensitivity of algorithm to estimate soil properties from in-situ high resolution-in-time temperature records in the active layer, and once-a-year measurements in a relatively deep borehole. The algorithm is applied to estimate soil properties at several sites along the Dalton Highway. The presented approach is quite general and can be applied to many problems requiring finding an optimal set of soil properties, and uncertainties in found values.