Changing Precipitation Scenarios: preliminary implications for groundwater flow systems and planning.
Murphy, Conor and Fealy, Rowan and Charlton, Ro and Sweeney, John (2004) Changing Precipitation Scenarios: preliminary implications for groundwater flow systems and planning. In: 25 th Anniversary Conference on Groundwater in Ireland, April 19-20 2004, Tullamore.
Statistical downscaling of a suite of three global climate models for two emission scenarios are used to produce precipitation scenarios for Ireland to 2090. One of these was used to drive a rainfall-runoff model for the River Boyne. The model was calibrated over the 1961-90 base period, validated using 1991-2000 data and run for three future time periods using downscaled GCM output. Significant changes in monthly flow regimes, soil moisture storage and groundwater storage were noted, with summer flows typically reduced by 20%. Negative changes in soil moisture storage also resulted, with soil moisture deficits increasingly extending into the Autumn as the century proceeds. Such a situation is seen to potentially compromise groundwater recharge in individual years and an increasing lag in groundwater recharge was detected. By the 2080s the groundwater recharge lag has developed to the extent that spring and early summer surface flows appear to be still benefiting from winter groundwater recharge while by late autumn groundwater is seriously depleted due to drier summer conditions. Serious implications for water yield from groundwater-fed sources would thus arise in the event of a dry winter being experienced. Greater conservatism in estimating water yields from groundwater sources would seem appropriate and may require to be formally incorporated into planning procedures.
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