Likely effects of climate change on groundwater availability in a Mediterranean region of Southeastern Spain

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Title: Likely effects of climate change on groundwater availability in a Mediterranean region of Southeastern Spain
Authors: Moutahir, Hassane | Bellot, Pau | Monjo, Robert | Bellot, Juan | Garcia, Miguel | Touhami, Issam
Research Group/s: Gestión de Ecosistemas y de la Biodiversidad (GEB)
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Ecología | Universidad de Alicante. Instituto Multidisciplinar para el Estudio del Medio "Ramón Margalef"
Keywords: Heavy precipitation events | Aquifer recharge | Wavelet transform | Trends | Groundwater drought | Climate change
Knowledge Area: Ecología
Issue Date: 1-Jan-2017
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Citation: Hydrological Processes. 2017, 31(1): 161-176. doi:10.1002/hyp.10988
Abstract: Groundwater resources are typically the main fresh water source in arid and semi-arid regions. Natural recharge of aquifers is mainly based on precipitation; however, only heavy precipitation events (HPEs) are expected to produce appreciable aquifer recharge in these environments. In this work, we used daily precipitation and monthly water level time series from different locations over a Mediterranean region of Southeastern Spain to identify the critical threshold value to define HPEs that lead to appreciable aquifer recharge in this region. Wavelet and trend analyses were used to study the changes in the temporal distribution of the chosen HPEs (≥20 mm day−1) over the observed period 1953–2012 and its projected evolution by using 18 downscaled climate projections over the projected period 2040–2099. The used precipitation time series were grouped in 10 clusters according to similarities between them assessed by using Pearson correlations. Results showed that the critical HPE threshold for the study area is 20 mm day−1. Wavelet analysis showed that observed significant seasonal and annual peaks in global wavelet spectrum in the first sub-period (1953–1982) are no longer significant in the second sub-period (1983–2012) in the major part of the ten clusters. This change is because of the reduction of the mean HPEs number, which showed a negative trend over the observed period in nine clusters and was significant in five of them. However, the mean size of HPEs showed a positive trend in six clusters. A similar tendency of change is expected over the projected period. The expected reduction of the mean HPEs number is two times higher under the high climate scenario (RCP8.5) than under the moderate scenario (RCP4.5). The mean size of these events is expected to increase under the two scenarios. The groundwater availability will be affected by the reduction of HPE number which will increase the length of no aquifer recharge periods (NARP) accentuating the groundwater drought in the region.
Sponsor: This work was carried out as part of ECOBAL project (CGL2011-30531-C02-01 and CGL2015-69773-C2-1-P: Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness).
ISSN: 0885-6087 (Print) | 1099-1085 (Online)
DOI: 10.1002/hyp.10988
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Peer Review: si
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Appears in Collections:INV - GEB - Artículos de Revistas

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