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A conceptual model for climatic teleconnection signal control on groundwater variability in the UK and Europe

Rust, William, Holman, Ian, Corstanje, Ron, Bloomfield, John and Cuthbert, Mark ORCID: 2018. A conceptual model for climatic teleconnection signal control on groundwater variability in the UK and Europe. Earth-Science Reviews 177 , pp. 164-174. 10.1016/j.earscirev.2017.09.017

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The ability to predict future variability of groundwater resources in time and space is of critical importance to drought management. Periodic control on groundwater levels from oscillatory climatic systems (such as the North Atlantic Oscillation) offers a potentially valuable source of longer term forecasting capability. While some studies have found evidence of the influence of such climatic oscillations within groundwater records, there is little information on how periodic signals propagate between a climatic system and a groundwater resource. This paper develops a conceptual model of this relationship for groundwater resources in the UK and Europe, based on a review of current research. The studies reviewed here reveal key spatial and temporal signal modulations between climatic oscillations, precipitation, groundwater recharge and groundwater discharge. Generally positive correlations are found between the NAO (as a dominant influence) and precipitation in northern Europe indicating a strong control on water available for groundwater recharge. These periodic signals in precipitation are transformed by the unsaturated and saturated zones, such that signals are damped and lagged. This modulation has been identified to varying degrees, and is dependent on the shape, storage and transmissivity of an aquifer system. This goes part way towards explaining the differences in periodic signal strength found across many groundwater systems in current research. So that an understanding of these relationships can be used by water managers in building resilience to drought, several research gaps have been identified. Among these are improved quantification of spatial groundwater sensitivity to periodic control, and better identification of the hydrogeological controls on signal lagging and damping. Principally, research needs to move towards developing improved predictive capability for the use of periodic climate oscillations as indicators of longer term groundwater variability.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0012-8252
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 18 October 2017
Date of Acceptance: 22 September 2017
Last Modified: 20 Nov 2023 02:04

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