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Title: Sensitivity of Vadose Zone Water Fluxes to Climate Shifts in Arid Settings

Vadose zone water fluxes in arid settings are investigated regarding their sensitivity to hydraulic soil parameters and meteorological data. The study is based on the inverse modeling of highly defined soil column experiments and subsequent scenario modeling comparing different climate projections for a defined arid region. In arid regions, groundwater resources are prone to depletion due to excessive water use and little recharge potential. Especially in sand dune areas, groundwater recharge is highly dependent on vadose zone properties and corresponding water fluxes. Nevertheless, vadose zone water fluxes under arid conditions are hard to determine owing to, among other reasons, deep vadose zones with generally low fluxes and only sporadic high infiltration events. In this study, we present an inverse model of infiltration experiments accounting for variable saturated nonisothermal water fluxes to estimate effective hydraulic and thermal parameters of dune sands. A subsequent scenario modeling links the results of the inverse model with projections of a global climate model until 2100. The scenario modeling clearly showed the high dependency of groundwater recharge on precipitation amounts and intensities, whereas temperature increases are only of minor importance for deep infiltration. However, simulated precipitation rates are still affected by high uncertainties in the responsemore » to the hydrological input data of the climate model. Thus, higher certainty in the prediction of precipitation pattern is a major future goal for climate modeling to constrain future groundwater management strategies in arid regions.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5]
  1. Federal Waterways Engineering and Research Inst. (BAW), Karlsruhe (Germany); Technical Univ. of Darmstadt (Germany). Inst. of Applied Geosciences
  2. Freie Univ., Berlin (Germany)
  3. Technical Univ. of Darmstadt (Germany). Inst. of Applied Geosciences
  4. Agrosphere (IBG-3), Julich (Germany)
  5. Technical Univ. of Darmstadt (Germany). Inst. of Applied Geosciences; Agrosphere (IBG-3), Julich (Germany)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Vadose Zone Journal; Journal Volume: 13; Journal Issue: 1
Soil Science Society of America
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States), Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory