High-resolution, three-dimensional modeling of groundwater flow and solute transport on large scales requires algorithms that focus the computational effort where it is needed (Langevin and Panday, 2012).
Adaptive mesh refinement (AMR) techniques accomplish this objective by dynamically redistributing the nodes on a computational mesh in such a way that physical phenomena can be resolved accurately and efficiently in space and time (Gamliel and Abriola, 1992). Nodal spacing is generally decreased in areas where the gradients in the physical process (e.g., hydraulic head/concentration in flow/transport models) are large and decreased where the gradients are small.
The Adaptive Groundwater code represents a new type of adaptive simulation software for high-resolution, field-scale modeling of three-dimensional groundwater flow systems. The software automatically adjusts to multiple scales of flow and transport processes by translating and adding/removing telescoping levels of progressively finer subgrids to maintain a specified numerical accuracy throughout the global simulation domain.