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Application of the Root Zone Water Quality Model (RZWQM) to pesticide fate and transport: an overview

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Pesticide transport models are tools used to develop improved pesticide management strategies, study pesticide processes under different conditions (management, soils, climates, etc) and illuminate aspects of a system in need of more field or laboratory study. This paper briefly overviews RZWQM history and distinguishing features, overviews key RZWQM components and reviews RZWQM validation studies. RZWQM is a physically based agricultural systems model that includes sub‐models to simulate: infiltration, runoff, water distribution and chemical movement in the soil; macropore flow and chemical movement through macropores; evapotranspiration (ET); heat transport; plant growth; organic matter/nitrogen cycling; pesticide processes; chemical transfer to runoff; and the effect of agricultural management practices on these processes. Research to date shows that if key input parameters are calibrated, RZWQM can adequately simulate the processes involved with pesticide transport (ET, soil‐water content, percolation and runoff, plant growth and pesticide fate). A review of the validation studies revealed that (1) accurate parameterization of restricting soil layers (low permeability horizons) may improve simulated soil‐water content; (2) simulating pesticide sorption kinetics may improve simulated soil pesticide concentration with time (persistence) and depth and (3) calibrating the pesticide half‐life is generally necessary for accurate pesticide persistence simulations. This overview/review provides insight into the processes involved with the RZWQM pesticide component and helps identify model weaknesses, model strengths and successful modeling strategies. Published in 2004 for SCI by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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Keywords: RZWQM; model validation; pesticide degradation; pesticide kinetics; pesticide sorption

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: USDA-Agricultural Research Service, National Soil Tilth Laboratory (NSTL), Ames, IA, USA 2: USDA-ARS, Great Plains System Research (GPSR), Fort Collins, CO, USA 3: USDA-ARS, Southeast Watershed Research Laboratory, Tifton, GA, USA 4: Environmental and Turf Services, Inc Wheaton, MD, USA

Publication date: 01 March 2004

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