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Estimation of future groundwater recharge using climatic analogues and Hydrus-1D

Author(s): B. Leterme | D. Mallants | D. Jacques

Journal: Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussions
ISSN 1812-2108

Volume: 9;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 1389;
Date: 2012;
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The impact of climate change on groundwater recharge is simulated using climatic analogue stations, i.e. stations presently under climatic conditions corresponding to a given climate state. The study was conducted in the context of a safety assessment of a future near-surface disposal facility for low and intermediate level short-lived radioactive waste in Belgium; this includes estimating groundwater recharge for the next millennia. Groundwater recharge was simulated using the Richard's based soil water balance model Hydrus-1D and meteorological time series from analogue stations. Water balance calculations showed that transition from a temperate oceanic to a warmer subtropical climate without rainfall seasonality is expected to yield a decrease in groundwater recharge (−12% for the chosen representative analogue station of Gijon, Northern Spain). Based on a time series of 24 yr of daily climate data, the long-term average annual recharge decreased from 314 to 276 mm, although total rainfall was higher (947 mm) in the warmer climate compared to the current temperate climate (899 mm). This is due to a higher soil evaporation (233 mm versus 206 mm) and higher plant transpiration (350 versus 285 mm) under the warmer climate.
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