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Intensive rainfall recharges tropical groundwaters

Jasechko, S; Taylor, RG; (2015) Intensive rainfall recharges tropical groundwaters. Environmental Research Letters , 10 (12) 10.1088/1748-9326/10/12/124015. Green open access

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Abstract

Dependence upon groundwater to meet rising agricultural and domestic water needs is expected to increase substantially across the tropics where, by 2050, over half of the world's population is projected to live. Rare, long-term groundwater-level records in the tropics indicate that groundwater recharge occurs disproportionately from heavy rainfalls exceeding a threshold. The ubiquity of this bias in tropical groundwater recharge to intensive precipitation is, however, unknown. By relating available long-term records of stable-isotope ratios of O and H in tropical precipitation (15 sites) to those of local groundwater, we reveal that groundwater recharge in the tropics is near-uniformly (14/15 sites) biased to intensive monthly rainfall, commonly exceeding the ~70th intensity decile. Our results suggest that the intensification of precipitation brought about by global warming favours groundwater replenishment in the tropics. Nevertheless, the processes that transmit intensive rainfall to groundwater systems and enhance the resilience of tropical groundwater storage in a warming world, remain unclear.

Type: Article
Title: Intensive rainfall recharges tropical groundwaters
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/10/12/124015
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/10/12/124015
Language: English
Additional information: Content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 licence. Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI.
Keywords: groundwater, tropics, isotope, hydrology, rainfall, recharge, oxygen-18
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Geography
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1474623
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