Groundwater Diffuse Recharge and its Response to Climate Changes in Semi-Arid Northwestern China

  • Author(s): Lin Deng, Wenke Wang, Yanjun Cai, Anyan Hu, and Liangcheng TanLin Deng, Wenke Wang, Yanjun Cai, Anyan Hu, and Liangcheng Tan
  • DOI: 10.3319/TAO.2015.03.18.01(Hy)
  • Keywords: Groundwater recharge, Chloride, Unsaturated zone, Semi-arid area, Climate change, Northwestern China
Abstract

Understanding the processes and rates of groundwater recharge in arid and semi-arid areas is crucial for utilizing and managing groundwater resources sustainably. We obtained three chloride profiles of the unsaturated-zone in the desert/loess transition zone of northwestern China and reconstructed the groundwater recharge variations over the last 11, 21, and 37 years, respectively, using the generalized chloride mass balance (GCMB) method. The average recharge rates were 43.7, 43.5, and 45.1 mm yr-1, respectively, which are similar to those evaluated by the chloride mass balance (CMB) or GCMB methods in other semi-arid regions. The results indicate that the annual recharge rates were not in complete linear proportion to the corresponding annual precipitations, although both exhibited descending tendencies on the whole. Comparisons between the daily precipitation aggregate at different intensity and recharge rates reveal that the occurrence of relatively heavy daily precipitation per year may contribute to such nonlinearity between annual precipitation and recharge. The possible influ- ences of vegetation cover alterations following precipitation change cannot be excluded as well. The approximately negative correlation between the average annual recharge and temperature suggests that changes in temperature have had significant influences on recharge.

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