Hydrologic and Climatologic Conditions that Shape Groundwater Resources in Utah and the Great Basin

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Wednesday, 5 February 2014
Hall C3 (The Georgia World Congress Center )
Kirsti Hakala, Utah State University, Logan, UT; and S. Y. W. Wang

In Utah, the declining trend of groundwater level, combined with the rapid growth of urban population and water withdrawal, are already a cause for concern for water planners throughout the state. Previous research has identified a significant link between the region's hydroclimate to Pacific climate oscillations. Using this newly found cohesion in hydrologic variations, we further involve the use of global climate models to predict groundwater levels for expected future climate. The Community Earth System Model (CESM) output shows a significant ability to replicate the quasi-decadal climate oscillation (QDO) and teleconnection patterns, which are the predominant climate drivers for the Great Basin. Building upon the ability of the model to replicate these climate oscillations, this study analyzes the modeled effects of greenhouse gas (GHG) on groundwater. Here, we find that the model output shows a troubling future for groundwater in the Great Basin. This study divulges these findings and discusses the effects of GHG on groundwater in modeled CESM simulations. Deciphering the climatic controls within the model and their ability to affect groundwater, will lead to a greater understanding of how GHG currently is and will affect future groundwater in the Great Basin.