08 Nov 2023
 | 08 Nov 2023
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

MPeat2D – A fully coupled mechanical-ecohydrological model of peatland development in two dimensions

Adilan Widyawan Mahdiyasa, David John Large, Matteo Icardi, and Bagus Putra Muljadi

Abstract. Higher dimensional models of peatland development are required to analyse the influence of spatial heterogeneity and complex feedback mechanisms. However, the current models exclude the mechanical process that leads to uncertainties in simulating the spatial variability of water table position, vegetation composition, and peat physical properties. Here, we propose MPeat2D, a peatland development model in two dimensions, which considers mechanical, ecological, and hydrological processes together with the essential feedback from spatial interactions. MPeat2D employs poroelasticity theory that couples fluid flow and solid deformation to model the influence of peat volume changes on peatland ecology and hydrology. To validate the poroelasticity formulation, the comparisons between numerical and analytical solutions of Mandel’s problems for two-dimensional test cases are conducted. The application of MPeat2D is illustrated by simulating peatland growth over 5000 years above the flat and impermeable substrate with free-draining boundaries at the edges, using constant and variable climate. In both climatic scenarios, MPeat2D produces lateral variability of water table depth, which results in the variation of vegetation composition. Furthermore, the drop of the water table at the margin increases the compaction effect, leading to a higher value of bulk density and a lower value of active porosity and hydraulic conductivity. These spatial variations obtained from MPeat2D are consistent with the field observations, suggesting plausible outputs from the proposed model. By comparing the results of MPeat2D to a one-dimensional model and a two-dimensional model without the mechanical process, the significance of mechanical-ecohydrological feedback on spatial heterogeneity, peatland shape, carbon accumulation, and resilience is highlighted.

Adilan Widyawan Mahdiyasa et al.

Status: open (until 21 Dec 2023)

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Adilan Widyawan Mahdiyasa et al.

Model code and software

MPeat2D Adilan Widyawan Mahdiyasa

Adilan Widyawan Mahdiyasa et al.


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Short summary
Mathematical models provide insight to analyse peatland behaviour. However, the omission of mechanical processes by the existing models leads to uncertainties in their outputs. We proposed a peatland growth model in 2D that incorporates mechanical, ecological, and hydrological factors together with the effect of spatial heterogeneity on the peatland system. Our model might assist in understanding the complex interactions and the impact of climate change on the peatland carbon balance.