This title appears in the Scientific Report : 2014 

Sensitivity of Vadose Zone Water Fluxes to Climate Shifts in Arid Settings
Pfletschinger, H. (Corresponding author)
Prömmel, K. / Schüth, C. / Herbst, M. / Engelhardt, I.
Agrosphäre; IBG-3
Vadose zone journal, 13 (2014) 1, S. 1-14
Madison, Wis. SSSA 2014
Journal Article
Modelling and Monitoring Terrestrial Systems: Methods and Technologies
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Vadose zone water fluxes in arid settings are investigated regarding their sensitivity to hydraulic soil parameters and meteorological data. The study is based on the inverse modeling of highly defined soil column experiments and subsequent scenario modeling comparing different climate projections for a defined arid region.In arid regions, groundwater resources are prone to depletion due to excessive water use and little recharge potential. Especially in sand dune areas, groundwater recharge is highly dependent on vadose zone properties and corresponding water fluxes. Nevertheless, vadose zone water fluxes under arid conditions are hard to determine owing to, among other reasons, deep vadose zones with generally low fluxes and only sporadic high infiltration events. In this study, we present an inverse model of infiltration experiments accounting for variable saturated nonisothermal water fluxes to estimate effective hydraulic and thermal parameters of dune sands. A subsequent scenario modeling links the results of the inverse model with projections of a global climate model until 2100. The scenario modeling clearly showed the high dependency of groundwater recharge on precipitation amounts and intensities, whereas temperature increases are only of minor importance for deep infiltration. However, simulated precipitation rates are still affected by high uncertainties in the response to the hydrological input data of the climate model. Thus, higher certainty in the prediction of precipitation pattern is a major future goal for climate modeling to constrain future groundwater management strategies in arid regions.