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
Sea ice extent sinks to record lows at both poles
23.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Less radiation in inner Van Allen belt than previously believed
21.03.2017 | DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
23.03.2017 | Life Sciences
23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences