Response of deep aquifers to climate variability
Abotalib, Abotalib Z.
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There is a general agreement that deep aquifers experience significant lag time in their response to climatic variations. Analysis of Temporal Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity mission (SMOS), satellite altimetry, stable isotopic composition of groundwater, and precipitation and static global geopotential models over the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System (NSAS) revealed rapid aquifer response to climate variability. Findings include: (1) The recharge areas of the NSAS (Northern Sudan Platform subbasin) witnessed a dry period (2002−2012), where average annual precipitation (AAP) was modest (85 mm) followed by a wet period (2013–2016; AAP: 107 mm), and during both periods the AAP remained negligible (<10 mm) over the northern parts of the NSAS (Dakhla subbasin); (2) the secular trends in terrestrial water storage (TWS) over the Dakhla subbasin were estimated at −3.8 ± 1.3 mm/yr and + 7.8 ± 1 mm/yr for the dry and wet periods, respectively; (3) spatial variations in TWS values and phase are consistent with rapid groundwater flow from the Northern Sudan Platform subbasin and Lake Nasser towards the Dakhla subbasin during the wet period and from the lake during the dry period; and (4) networks of densely fractured and karstified bedrocks provide preferential pathways for groundwater flow. The proposed model is supported by (1) rapid response in groundwater levels in distant wells (>280 km from source areas) and in soil moisture content in areas with shallow (<2 m) groundwater levels to fluctuations in Lake Nasser surface water, and (2) the isotopic composition (O, H) of groundwater along the preferred pathways, consistent with mixing of enriched (Lake Nasser water or precipitation over Sudan) and depleted (NSAS fossil water) endmembers. Findings provide new insights into the response of large, deep aquifers to climate variability and address the sustainability of the NSAS and similar fossil aquifers worldwide.
RightsAttribution 4.0 International
CitationAbdelmohsen, K., Sultan, M., Ahmed, M., Save, H., Elkaliouby, B., Emil, M., Yan, E., Abotalib, A.Z., Krishnamurthy, R.V. and Abdelmalik, K., 2019. Response of deep aquifers to climate variability. Science of the Total Environment, 677, pp.530-544.
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