Jeffrey M. McKenzie, Barret L. Kurylyk, Michelle A. Walvoord, Victor F. Bense, Daniel Fortier, Christopher Spence, and Christophe Grenier
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Groundwater is an underappreciated catalyst of environmental change in a warming Arctic. We provide evidence of how changing groundwater systems underpin surface changes in the north, and we argue for research and inclusion of cryohydrogeology, the study of groundwater in cold regions.
Changes in climate and land cover are known to warm streams by altering surface heat fluxes. However, the influence of these disturbances on shallow groundwater temperature are not as well understood. In small streams, groundwater discharge may also exert a control on stream temperature, and thus groundwater warming may eventually produce additional stream warming not considered in most existing models. This study investigates these processes and suggests stream temperature model improvements.
Karstic recharge processes have mainly been explored using discharge analysis despite the high influence of the heterogeneous surface on hydrological processes. In this paper, we introduce an event-based method which allows for recharge estimation from soil moisture measurements. The method was tested at a karst catchment in Germany but can be applied to other karst areas with precipitation and soil moisture data available. It will allow for a better characterization of karst recharge processes.
We show that major groundwater resources in the UK exhibit strong multi-year cycles, accounting for up to 40 % of total groundwater level variability. By comparing these cycles with recorded widespread groundwater droughts over the past 60 years, we provide evidence that climatic systems (such as the North Atlantic Oscillation) ultimately drive drought-risk periods in UK groundwater. The recursive nature of these drought-risk periods may lead to improved preparedness for future droughts.
Agricultural operations can result in nitrate contamination of groundwater, lakes and streams. At two confined feeding operations in Alberta, Canada, nitrate in groundwater from temporary manure piles and pens exceeded nitrate from earthen manure storages. Identified denitrification reduced agriculturally derived nitrate concentrations in groundwater by at least half. Infiltration to groundwater systems where nitrate can be naturally attenuated is likely preferable to off-farm export via runoff.
To localize the source of a contaminant in the subsurface, based on concentration observations at some wells, we propose to test different possible locations and minimize the misfit between observed and simulated concentrations. We use a global optimization technique that relies on an expected improvement criterion, which allows a good exploration of the parameter space, avoids the trapping of local minima and quickly localizes the source of the contaminant on the presented synthetic cases.
Existing analytical solutions associated with groundwater recharge are only applicable to the studies of saturated flow in aquifers. This paper develops an analytical solution for 3-D unsaturated–saturated flow due to localized recharge into an unconfined aquifer. The effects of unsaturated flow on the recharge process are analyzed. The present solution agrees well with a finite-difference solution. The solution’s predictions also match well with observed data obtained by a field experiment.
An semanalytical model is developed for estimating the groundwater flow and stream depletion rates (SDR) from two streams in an L-shaped fluvial aquifer located at Gyeonggi-do, Korea. The predicted spatial and temporal hydraulic heads agree well with those of simulations and measurements. The model can be applied to evaluate the contribution of extracted water from storage and nearby streams.
Most previous solutions for groundwater flow due to localized recharge assumed either aquifer incompressibility or 2-D flow without vertical flow. This paper develops a 3-D flow model for hydraulic head change induced by the recharge with random transient rates in a compressible unconfined aquifer. The analytical solution of the model for the head is derived. The quantitative criteria for the validity of those two assumptions are presented by the developed solution.
Water temperature is a non-conservative tracer. Variations in recharge temperature are damped and retarded as water moves through an aquifer due to heat exchange between water and rock. This paper presents relationships that describe thermal damping and retardation in karst conduits determined using analytical solutions and numerical simulations, with some support provided by field data. These relationships may be used with field data to estimate unknown flow path geometry in karst aquifers.
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We used a combination of aerial, thermal, hydrologic, and radionuclide monitoring to investigate intertidal springs flowing into a coastal lagoon with a threatened ecosystem. Field data highlight the critical hydrologic and thermal role of these springs in the nearshore zone, and modelling results reveal that the groundwater springs will likely warm substantially in the coming decades due to climate change. Springs sourced from shallower zones in the aquifer will warm first.
We used a combination of aerial, thermal, hydrologic, and radionuclide monitoring to investigate...