Groundwater-land surface-atmosphere feedbacks: impacts of groundwater on land-atmosphere fluxes, convective storms, and frontal precipitation

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Thursday, 21 January 2010: 11:00 AM
B216 (GWCC)
Ian M. Ferguson, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO; and R. M. Maxwell

Presentation PDF (1.1 MB)

Recent studies have shown that groundwater storage and distribution significantly influence land–atmosphere heat and moisture fluxes and thus feed back on local atmospheric conditions. Here we use ParFlow, a three-dimensional, variably-saturated groundwater flow model with integrated land-surface and overland flow processes, to examine the influence of groundwater on land surface energy and water balances over the Southern Great Plains region of North America. Results demonstrate strong coupling between groundwater depth and root zone soil moisture, ground temperature, and latent and sensible heat fluxes throughout the summer. ParFlow is then coupled to the Weather Research and Forecasting Model (WRF) to investigate the influence of groundwater–land surface–atmosphere feedbacks on temperature and precipitation under convective and frontal conditions. Results highlight the varying influence of groundwater processes and land–atmosphere feedbacks under different meteorological conditions, and implications are discussed in the context of climate variability and prediction, climate change, and water resources management.