Assessment of climate change impacts on soil water balance and aquifer recharge in a semiarid region in south east Spain

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Title: Assessment of climate change impacts on soil water balance and aquifer recharge in a semiarid region in south east Spain
Authors: Touhami, Issam | Chirino Miranda, Esteban | Andreu Rodes, José Miguel | Sanchez-Montahud, Juan-Rafael | Moutahir, Hassane | Bellot Abad, Juan Francisco
Research Group/s: Gestión de Ecosistemas y de la Biodiversidad (GEB) | Geología Aplicada e Hidrogeología
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Ecología | Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Ciencias de la Tierra y del Medio Ambiente
Keywords: Climate change | Soil water balance | Aquifer recharge | HYDROBAL model | Semiarid region
Knowledge Area: Ecología | Geodinámica Externa
Issue Date: Aug-2015
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Journal of Hydrology. 2015, 527: 619-629. doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2015.05.012
Abstract: Climate change forecasts in a semiarid region are of much interest to academics, managers and governments. A significant decrease in annual precipitation and an increase in mean annual air temperature are expected; consequently, changes in the soil water balance and groundwater recharge to aquifers are expected as a response to climate change forecasts. In this context, our study aimed to assess the impact of climate changes on the soil water balance and natural groundwater recharge in a semiarid area (Ventós-Castellar aquifer, SE, Spain). To this end, we selected Global Climate Model HadCM3 after comparing it with two other models (ECHAM4 and CGCM2). The HadCM3 model climate data (air temperature and precipitation in two emission scenarios: A2-high and B2-low; 2011–2099) were coupled to a HYDROBAL hydrological model to determine the soil water balance. The HYDROBAL model results showed that climate change will have a significant impact on the soil water balance in the study area, especially on groundwater recharge during the latter period. In both the A2-high and B2-low scenarios, the selected years to run the HYDROBAL model showed a decrease in water balance components (precipitation, actual evapotranspiration, aquifer recharge and runoff) in relation to the baseline period (1961–1990). Over the projected period (2011–2099), we expect fewer rainfall events (>15 mm), which promote aquifer recharge, longer dry summer seasons and, consequently, reduced average annual recharge that ranged from 3% to 17%; 10–49 mm, if compared to the baseline period. The methodology developed in the present study can be beneficial for assessing the impact of predicted climate change on groundwater recharge, and can help managers and planners to devise strategies for the efficient use and conservation of freshwater resources.
Sponsor: This research has been supported by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – France (IGCP-513), the European Commission – Belgium (PRACTICE project), the Spanish Government through the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness – Spain (ECOBAL Project, CGL2011-30531-C03-01 and SURVIVE project, CGL 2011-30531-C02-02), the Consolider programme INGENIO 2010 (GRACCIE Project, CSD2007-00067), and the Generalitat Valenciana – Spain (FEEDBACKS-PROMETEO; ACOMP/2010/272 and GV07/143).
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10045/47095
ISSN: 0022-1694 (Print) | 1879-2707 (Online)
DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2015.05.012
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: © 2015 Elsevier B.V.
Peer Review: si
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2015.05.012
Appears in Collections:INV - GAH - Artículos de Revistas
INV - GEB - Artículos de Revistas

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