Human Water Use Impacts on the Strength of the Continental Sink for Atmospheric Water

Keune J, Sulis M, Kollet S, Siebert S, & Wada Y (2018). Human Water Use Impacts on the Strength of the Continental Sink for Atmospheric Water. Geophysical Research Letters 45 (9): 4068-4076. DOI:10.1029/2018GL077621.

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Abstract

In the hydrologic cycle, continental landmasses constitute a sink for atmospheric moisture as annual terrestrial precipitation commonly exceeds evapotranspiration. Simultaneously, humans intervene in the hydrologic cycle and pump groundwater to sustain, for example, drinking water and food production. Here we use a coupled groundwater‐to‐atmosphere modeling platform, set up over the European continent, to study the influence of groundwater pumping and irrigation on the net atmospheric moisture import of the continental landmasses, which defines the strength of the continental sink. Water use scenarios are constructed to account for uncertainties of atmospheric feedback during the heatwave year 2003. We find that human water use induces groundwater‐to‐atmosphere feedback, which potentially weaken the continental sink over arid watersheds in southern Europe. This feedback is linked to groundwater storage, which suggests that atmospheric feedbacks to human water use may contribute to drying of watersheds, thereby raising water resources and socio‐economic concerns beyond local sustainability considerations.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Continental sink; Groundwater abstraction; mmGroundwater dynamics; Groundwater-to-atmosphere feedback; Human water use;Sustainability
Research Programs: Advanced Systems Analysis (ASA)
Depositing User: Romeo Molina
Date Deposited: 24 May 2018 09:53
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2019 08:42
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/15285

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