Hydrological system behaviour of an alluvial aquifer under climate change

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Abstract

In this paper, we present an assessment of the sensitivity of groundwater-surface water interactions to climate change in an alluvial aquifer, located in the Ljubljansko polje, Slovenia. The investigation is motivated by a recent assessment of climate change pressures on the water balance in the Sava River Basin (Gampe et al., 2016). The assessment was performed using a comprehensive hydrological modelling approach, which is based on the direct/indirect communication between FEFLOW and WaSiM/MIKE 11. This modelling framework provides a precise simulation of the critical processes in the study domain, which are the main drivers influencing the interactions between precipitation, river water and groundwater under different future climate scenarios. Climate projections were based on the results of the three regional climate models SMHI-RCA4, KNMI-RACMO22E and CLMcom-CCLM4. The results show that there will be higher levels of local precipitation during 2036–2065, the projected river discharge will be larger in the future compared to 2000–2014, and it is unlikely that the Ljubljansko polje will suffer from water scarcity. In addition, amongst the various sections of the Sava River the section between Črnuče and Šentjakob is the one most sensitive to climate change. By running the models under different climate scenarios a deeper insight into aquifer system functioning was obtained. Investigating impacts of climate change on groundwater and interactions between surface water and groundwater on the local scale is a basis for applying such a study on the global scale, which was still not very well investigated.

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Vrzel, J., Ludwig, R., Gampe, D., & Ogrinc, N. (2019). Hydrological system behaviour of an alluvial aquifer under climate change. Science of the Total Environment, 649, 1179–1188. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.08.396

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