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01-06-2006 | Paper | Issue 5/2006

Hydrogeology Journal 5/2006

Climate change impacts on groundwater recharge- uncertainty, shortcomings, and the way forward?

Journal:
Hydrogeology Journal > Issue 5/2006
Author:
I. P. Holman

Abstract

An integrated approach to assessing the regional impacts of climate and socio-economic change on groundwater recharge is described from East Anglia, UK. Many factors affect future groundwater recharge including changed precipitation and temperature regimes, coastal flooding, urbanization, woodland establishment, and changes in cropping and rotations.
Important sources of uncertainty and shortcomings in recharge estimation are discussed in the light of the results. The uncertainty in, and importance of, socio-economic scenarios in exploring the consequences of unknown future changes are highlighted. Changes to soil properties are occurring over a range of time scales, such that the soils of the future may not have the same infiltration properties as existing soils. The potential implications involved in assuming unchanging soil properties are described.
To focus on the direct impacts of climate change is to neglect the potentially important role of policy, societal values and economic processes in shaping the landscape above aquifers. If the likely consequences of future changes of groundwater recharge, resulting from both climate and socio-economic change, are to be assessed, hydrogeologists must increasingly work with researchers from other disciplines, such as socio-economists, agricultural modellers and soil scientists.

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