Sensitivity of groundwater recharge using climatic analogues and HYDRUS-1D
- 1SCK-CEN, Performance Assessments Unit, Boeretang 200, Mol, Belgium
- 2CSIRO Land and Water, Waite Campus, Urrbrae 5064 SA, Australia
Abstract. The sensitivity of groundwater recharge to different climate conditions was simulated using the approach of climatic analogue stations, i.e. stations presently experiencing climatic conditions corresponding to a possible future 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 estimation of groundwater recharge for the next millennia. Groundwater recharge was simulated using the Richards based soil water balance model HYDRUS-1D and meteorological time series from analogue stations. This study used four analogue stations for a warmer subtropical climate with changes of average annual precipitation and potential evapotranspiration from −42% to +5% and from +8% to +82%, respectively, compared to the present-day climate. Resulting water balance calculations yielded a change in groundwater recharge ranging from a decrease of 72% to an increase of 3% for the four different analogue stations. The Gijon analogue station (Northern Spain), considered as the most representative for the near future climate state in the study area, shows an increase of 3% of groundwater recharge for a 5% increase of annual precipitation. Calculations for a colder (tundra) climate showed a change in groundwater recharge ranging from a decrease of 97% to an increase of 32% for four different analogue stations, with an annual precipitation change from −69% to −14% compared to the present-day climate.