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Response of Swiss groundwaters to climatic forcing and climate change: analysis of the historical instrumental record

Applicant Livingstone David
Number 125897
Funding scheme NRP 61 Sustainable Water Management
Research institution Eawag
Institution of higher education Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology - EAWAG
Main discipline Hydrology, Limnology, Glaciology
Start/End 01.02.2010 - 31.01.2013
Approved amount 172'188.00
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Keywords (4)

Groundwater; Water quality; Time-series analysis; Climate change

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Einfluss des Klimawandels auf das Grundwasser Der Klimawandel wird wahrscheinlich Temperaturänderungen im Grundwasser bewirken und damit viele biologische und chemische Aspekte der Grundwasserqualität beeinflussen. Mithilfe historischer Daten aus der jüngeren Vergangenheit wird der Einfluss von Klima und Klimawandel auf die Grundwassertemperatur analysiert.
Lay summary

Hintergrund
Das Grundwasser ist in der Schweiz von besonderer Bedeutung, weil es 80% der Trinkwasserreserven des Landes darstellt. Wir wissen, dass der Klimawandel die Wasserqualität in Seen und Flüssen beeinflusst, aber wissen wenig über dessen Effekte auf die Grundwasserqualität. Der Vergleich von Veränderungen des regionalen Klimas mit Veränderungen der entsprechenden Grundwassertemperatur hilft, den Einfluss von Klimaveränderungen auf das Grundwasser zu verstehen. In diesem Kontext ist die Temperatur des Grundwassers besonders relevant, weil viele biologische und chemische Aspekte der Grundwasserqualität temperaturabhängig sind.

Ziel
Ziel des Projektes ist es, den Einfluss von regionalen Klimaveränderungen, welche besonders in der europäischen alpinen Region rasch erfolgen, auf Parameter des Untergrundwassers wie Temperatur, Wasserhöhe und Sauerstoffkonzentration zu untersuchen. Historische Daten, die einen langen Zeitraum abdecken, werden gesammelt und mithilfe der statistischen Methodik der Zeitreihenanalyse ausgewertet. So kann das Ausmass der Veränderung der verschiedenen Grundwassertypen der Schweiz als Folge des Klimawandels bestimmt werden.

Bedeutung
Sowohl auf nationaler als auch auf internationaler Ebene ist kaum bekannt, wie die verschiedenen Grundwassertypen auf Klimaveränderungen reagieren. Diese Einsichten sind jedoch von zentraler Bedeutung, da die zukünftige Bewirtschaftung unserer Wasserressourcen den Einfluss der Klimaveränderung berücksichtigen muss.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 01.03.2013

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Comprendre les effets du changement climatique sur les eaux souterraines Il est bien possible que le changement climatique influence la température de l’eau souterraine, et que ce phénomène ait des conséquences sur de nombreux aspects biologiques et chimiques de la qualité de cette eau. L’influence du climat et du changement climatique sur la température des eaux souterraines est analysée à l’aide de données historiques du passé récent.
Lay summary

Contexte
L’eau souterraine est particulièrement importante en Suisse, où elle fournit 80% de l’eau potable du pays. Nous savons que le changement climatique influence la qualité de l’eau des lacs et rivières, mais nous n’avons que très peu d’informations concernant son influence sur la qualité de l’eau souterraine. Une comparaison des fluctuations récentes du climat régional avec les fluctuations des températures de l’eau souterraine nous aide à comprendre comment le changement climatique pourrait influencer l’eau souterraine. La température de l’eau souterraine est particulièrement importante dans ce contexte, car de nombreux aspects biologiques et chimiques de la qualité de cette eau en dépendent.

But
Le but de ce projet est de découvrir comment le changement climatique régional, particulièrement rapide dans la région alpine européenne, influence les variables de l’eau souterraine, telles que la température, le niveau de l’eau et la concentration en oxygène. Les données historiques sur une longue période seront récoltées et analysées à l’aide de méthodes statistiques d’analyses de séries chronologiques. Ceci permet de déterminer l’étendue des changements des différents types d’eau souterraine en Suisse, en réponse au changement climatique.

Portée
Il existe très peu d’informations à un niveau national ou international illustrant comment les différents types d’eau souterraine réagissent au changement climatique. Ces connaissances sont toutefois importantes, car les décisions futures en matière de gestion de nos ressources en eau doivent tenir compte de son effet.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 01.03.2013

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Understanding how climate change is affecting groundwater Climate change is likely to influence the temperature of groundwater, thereby affecting many biological and chemical aspects of groundwater quality. The influence of climate and climate change on groundwater temperature is analysed using historical data from the recent past.
Lay summary
Background
Groundwater is especially important in Switzerland as it supplies 80% of the country's drinking water. We know that climate change is influencing water quality in lakes and rivers, but we have very little information on its effect on groundwater quality. Comparison of fluctuations in regional climate in the recent past with fluctuations in groundwater temperature helps us to understand how climate change might affect groundwater. Groundwater temperature is especially important in this context because many biological and chemical aspects of groundwater quality are temperature-dependent.

Aim and methods
The aim of this project is to find out how regional climate change, which is occurring especially rapidly in the European Alpine region, is influencing groundwater variables like temperature, water level and oxygen concentration. Long-term historical data from groundwater in Switzerland will be collected and analysed using the statistical methods of time-series analysis. This will allow the extent to which different types of groundwater in Switzerland are changing in response to climate change to be determined.

Significance
Very little information is available nationally or internationally that shows how different types of groundwater respond to climate change. It is important to know this, however, because future management decisions with respect to our water resources must take into account the impact of climate change.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 01.03.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Name Institute

Publications

Publication
Forecasting groundwater temperature with linear regression models using historical data
Figura Simon, Livingstone David M., Kipfer Rolf (2015), Forecasting groundwater temperature with linear regression models using historical data, in Groundwater, 53(6), 943-954.
Einflüsse auf die Sauerstoffkonzentration in alluvialem Grundwasser
Figura Simon, Livingstone David M., Kipfer Rolf (2014), Einflüsse auf die Sauerstoffkonzentration in alluvialem Grundwasser, in Hydrologie und Wasserbewirtschaftung, 58(1), 49-49.
Competing controls on groundwater oxygen concentration revealed in multidecadal time-series from riverbank filtration sites
Figura Simon, Livingstone David M., Kipfer Rolf (2013), Competing controls on groundwater oxygen concentration revealed in multidecadal time-series from riverbank filtration sites, in Water Resources Research, 49(11), 7411-7426.
Klima und Grundwasser: Rückblicke und Vorhersagen von Temperatur und Sauerstoff mittels historischer Aufzeichnungen
Figura Simon, Livingstone David M., Hoehn Eduard, Kipfer Rolf (2013), Klima und Grundwasser: Rückblicke und Vorhersagen von Temperatur und Sauerstoff mittels historischer Aufzeichnungen, in Aqua & Gas, 2013(7/8), 28-33.
Klimaänderung und Karstquellenertrag: Zeitreihen-Analyse des Ertrags der Pertusio-Quelle (TI) und Ursprung-Quelle (NW)
Scheiwiller Susanne, Figura Simon, Hoehn Eduard, Haldimann Peter (2013), Klimaänderung und Karstquellenertrag: Zeitreihen-Analyse des Ertrags der Pertusio-Quelle (TI) und Ursprung-Quelle (NW), in Aqua & Gas, 2013(7/8), 14-20.
The impact of climate change on groundwater temperature and oxygen concentration in Swiss aquifers
Figura Simon (2013), The impact of climate change on groundwater temperature and oxygen concentration in Swiss aquifers, ETH, Zürich.
Auswirkungen des Klimawandels auf das Grundwasser
Schürch Marc, Hoehn Eduard, Figura Simon, Kipfer Rolf (2011), Auswirkungen des Klimawandels auf das Grundwasser, in Gas Wasser Abwasser, 91(3), 177-182.
Regime shift in groundwater temperature triggered by the Arctic Oscillation.
Figura Simon, Livingstone David M., Hoehn Eduard, Kipfer Rolf (2011), Regime shift in groundwater temperature triggered by the Arctic Oscillation., in Geophysical Research Letters, 38(23), 1-5.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Konferenz der Vorsteher der Umweltschutzämter der Ostschweiz Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
CHYN, Universität Neuchâtel Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Exchange of personnel
Schweizerisches Institut für Speläologie und Karstforschung Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Hydrogeologie Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
AOGS/AGU Joint Assembly Talk given at a conference The impact of recent climate change on temperature and oxygen concentration in groundwater in Switzerland: an analysis of the historical instrumental record 13.08.2012 Singapore, Singapore Livingstone David; Figura Simon;
ASLO Aquatic Sciences Meeting 2012 Talk given at a conference Impacts of climatic and environmental changes on inland waters 08.07.2012 Otsu, Japan Figura Simon; Kipfer Rolf; Livingstone David;
European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2012 Poster Findings from the analysis of historical groundwater oxygen concentrations 22.04.2012 Vienna, Austria Hoehn Eduard; Figura Simon; Livingstone David; Kipfer Rolf;
7th Symposium of the European Federation for Freshwater Sciences Talk given at a conference The physical impact of large-scale climatic forcing and long-term climate change on inland waters: spatial coherence and temporal change 27.06.2011 Girona, Spain Livingstone David;


Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved


Self-organised

Title Date Place

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Video/Film Einfluss des Klimawandels auf das Grundwasser Western Switzerland International German-speaking Switzerland 2012
Media relations: print media, online media Interview: "Jedes Grundwasser hat seinen eigenen Charakter" Aqua & Gas German-speaking Switzerland 2012

Abstract

Knowledge of the potential impacts of climate change on our water resources is essential for their medium to long term management. The most important water resources, nationally and internationally, are groundwaters, and to a lesser extent lakes and rivers. For lakes and rivers on several continents, the availability of long-term historical instrumental monitoring data has allowed decadal-scale trends and fluctuations in their physical behaviour to be analysed, providing evidence of the large-scale impact of climatic forcing on these water bodies and showing that climate change is already having a substantial influence on them. For groundwaters, a lack of long-term instrumental data in machine-readable form has meant that essentially nothing is known about their response to climatic forcing and climate change. However, historical instrumental monitoring data on groundwaters in Switzerland do exist, and are now in the process of being made available in machine-readable form. In this project, we propose to analyse these unique and valuable data to determine whether Swiss groundwater bodies are exhibiting a regionally coherent physical response to climatic forcing, whether climate change is having an impact on groundwater in terms of long-term trends and decadal fluctuations, and to what extent the impact depends on the type of groundwater body (e.g., young groundwater recharged by river infiltration, young groundwater recharged by precipitation or old groundwater). The results of two pilot studies on already digitized data sets from groundwater bodies recharged mainly by river infiltration show groundwater temperature to have been undergoing a significant long-term increase, while oxygen concentrations have been decreasing. However, because general conclusions cannot be drawn from only two individual case studies, we propose to analyse many more data sets from various types of groundwater body throughout Switzerland. This project is expected to result in a general assessment of the decadal-scale behaviour of various types of groundwater body throughout Switzerland and its relationship to climatic forcing and climate change.
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