Karst environments are characterized by distinctive landforms and unique hydrologic behaviors. They are known as a major source of drinking water around the world but also as highly complex and vulnerable hydrosystems. Their complexity and heterogeneity is related to their formation and evolution which are controlled by a wide range of geological, hydrological, geochemical and biological processes.
Karst hydrosystems’ hydrology is usually modelled by applying lumped modelling approaches or methods assuming saturated hydraulic conditions and the validity of Darcy’s law. These models are mostly efficient for rainfall-discharge modelling at springs, but they do not account for the natural processes such as the multiple flow regimes and their consequences on the whole process of karst genesis and functioning. Such consideration requires 1) a deeper understanding of dominant natural processes that govern the initiation and evolution of karst systems in the short and long terms and 2) a subsequent modeling step to translate these physical pictures into quantitative computer models.
A review of the main modelling methods applied in each specific research domain will be proposed, with a specific focus on integration of various modeling techniques and its consequence on the understanding of the whole process of karst genesis and functioning.