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Changes of groundwater recharge at different global warming levels: A global-scale multi-model ensemble approach

IWRA 2020 Online Conference - Addressing Groundwater Resilience under Climate Change
THEME 1. Groundwater Natural Resouces Assessment Under Climate Change
Author(s): Robert Reinecke

Dr. Robert Reinecke
International Centre for Water resources and global Change (Cat2 UNESCO)

Keyword(s): Recharge, Global Hydrological Models, ISIMIP


Billions of people rely on groundwater as an accessible source for drinking water and irrigation especially in times of drought. This importance will likely increase with a changing climate. It is still unclear, however, to what extent climate change will globally impact groundwater systems and thus the availability of this important resource. Groundwater recharge is a central indicator for groundwater availability but projections vary. This talk will present global-scale results of a multi-model ensemble approach incorporating eight global hydrological models and four global circulation models to show the impact of global warming on global groundwater recharge. Preindustrial and current (at 1 °C global warming) groundwater recharge is compared with recharge for different global warming levels as a result of different representative concentration pathways (RCPs). Results suggest that the uncertainty range is large and predictions with confidence can be only made for specific regions worldwide. Furthermore, because most hydrological models do not include CO2 driven vegetation processes we investigate how including the effect of changing CO2 into the calculation of future groundwater recharge impacts the results. In some regions, inclusion of these processes leads to differences in groundwater recharge changes of up to 100 mm/yr in case of 3 °C global warming.

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