Tropical groundwater may prove to be a climate-resilient source of freshwater in the tropics as intense rainfall favours the replenishment of these resources, according to a new study published in Environmental Research Letters.
As climate observations show that global warming leads to fewer but more intense rainfalls, a clearer understanding of how these sources are replenished is crucial for developing strategies for groundwater usage that are better adapted to the greater variability in rainfall and river discharge brought about by climate change.
To examine how these resources are replenished, Professor Richard Taylor (UCL) and Dr Scott Jasechko (University of Calgary) assessed the chemical signatures in precipitation and groundwater at 15 sites across the tropics.
By comparing the stable isotopes of oxygen and hydrogen in water molecules from precipitation and groundwater, it was found that groundwater recharge occurs disproportionately from heavy rainfalls. In this instance heavy rainfall was defined as those exceeding the 50th percentile of local rainfall intensity.
Professor Richard Taylor (UCL Geography) said: "Our results suggest that the intense rainfall brought about by global warming strongly favours the renewal of groundwater resources. As over half the world's population is predicted to live in the tropics by 2050, dependence on groundwater as a resource will continue to rise.
"It is important to note that the results simply indicate a tendency towards increased groundwater recharge from extreme rainfall. Other influences on groundwater storage including excessive pumpage, substantial changes in total precipitation, and land-use change can undermine and overwhelm this resilience of groundwater resources in the tropics to climate change."
Groundwater is an invaluable source of freshwater across the tropics, enabling access to safe drinking water and often used for agricultural irrigation. The long-term viability of groundwater resources, and the livelihoods and ecosystems sustained by it, therefore relies on the replenishment of these sources.
Dr Scott Jasechko (University of Calgary) who led the study said: "Groundwater is a life-sustaining resource for many people in the tropics. Future research will explore how the combination of climate change and pumping will impact the availability of groundwater supplies across the tropics."
Notes to Editors
1. For images, videos, a copy of the paper or to speak to the researchers, please contact Siobhan Pipa in the UCL press office, T: +44 (0)20 7679 9041 / E: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Jasechko, S & Taylor, R.G 'Intensive rainfall recharges tropical groundwaters' is due to be published in Environmental Research Letters on 11 December 2015 and will be available online using this link http://iopscience.
About UCL (University College London)
UCL was founded in 1826. We were the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, the first to open up university education to those previously excluded from it, and the first to provide systematic teaching of law, architecture and medicine. We are among the world's top universities, as reflected by performance in a range of international rankings and tables. UCL currently has over 35,000 students from 150 countries and over 11,000 staff. Our annual income is more than £1 billion.
Siobhan Pipa | EurekAlert!
Predicting unpredictability: Information theory offers new way to read ice cores
07.12.2016 | Santa Fe Institute
Sea ice hit record lows in November
07.12.2016 | University of Colorado at Boulder
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine
07.12.2016 | Life Sciences
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine