Geoscientist from Göttingen University participates in international study
An international team of scientists with participation from the University of Göttingen has produced the first data-driven estimate of the Earth’s total supply of groundwater.
The study shows that the total volume of groundwater of any age is about 23 million cubic kilometres. However, less than six percent of the total amount is modern groundwater that is replenished within a human lifetime.
Some of the largest volumes of modern groundwater are in the Amazon Basin, the Congo, Indonesia, and in mountain chains like the Rocky Mountains, the least amount is not surprisingly in more arid regions such as the Sahara.
The study was conducted by the Universities of Victoria, Calgary (both Canada), Austin (Texas) and Göttingen (Germany) and published in Nature Geoscience.
Groundwater is one of the planet’s most exploited and most precious natural resources. Around the world, there is increasing demand to know how much we have and how long before it is tapped out.
“The amount of 23 million cubic kilometers is enough to cover the global land surface in a layer 180 metres deep,” explains Dr. Elco Luijendijk from Göttingen University’s Geoscience Centre.
“Although the volume of modern groundwater may appear small at first glance, it is still much larger than all other components of the active hydrological cycle such as water in rivers, lakes, and the atmosphere.”
The study combined measurements of radioactive tritium introduced to the groundwater by nuclear tests in the 1950’s with computer models of groundwater flow in the upper two kilometres of the subsurface.
“Knowing the volume of modern groundwater is important because it is a more renewable resource than older stagnant groundwater,” says Dr. Luijendijk. “However, modern groundwater is also more vulnerable to climate change and contamination by human activities.”
Original publication: Tom Gleeson et al. The global volume and distribution of modern groundwater. Nature Geoscience 2015. Doi: 10.1038/ngeo2590.
Dr. Elco Luijendijk
University of Göttingen
Faculty of Geoscience and Geography
Geoscience Centre – Department of Structural Geology and Geodynamics
Goldschmidtstraße 3, 37077 Göttingen, Germany
Phone: +49 551 39-14269
Thomas Richter | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Large-Mouthed Fish Was Top Predator After Mass Extinction
26.07.2017 | Universität Zürich
Strength of tectonic plates may explain shape of the Tibetan Plateau, study finds
25.07.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers
Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...
Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.
At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...
3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects
A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...
What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.
To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...
26.07.2017 | Event News
21.07.2017 | Event News
19.07.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
26.07.2017 | Life Sciences
26.07.2017 | Earth Sciences