An assessment of the climate change impacts on groundwater recharge at a continental scale using a probabilistic approach with an ensemble of GCMs

Crosbie, Russell; Pickett, Trevor; Mpelasoka, Freddie; Hodgson, Geoff; Charles, Stephen; Barron, Olga
March 2013
Climatic Change;Mar2013, Vol. 117 Issue 1/2, p41
Academic Journal
This study used 16 Global Climate Models and three global warming scenarios to make projections of recharge under a 2050 climate for the entire Australian continent at a 0.05° grid resolution. The results from these 48 future climate variants have been fitted to a probability distribution to enable the results to be summarised and uncertainty quantified. The median results project a reduction in recharge across the west, centre and south of Australia and an increase in recharge across the north and a small area in the east of the continent. The range of results is quite large and for large parts of the continent encompasses both increases and decreases in recharge. This makes it difficult to utilise for water resources management so the results have been analysed with a risk analysis framework; this enables the future projections for groundwater recharge to be communicated to water managers in terms of likelihood and consequence of a reduction in recharge. This highlights an important message for water resource managers that in most areas of Australia they will be making decisions on water allocations under considerable uncertainty as to the direction and magnitude of recharge change under a future climate and that this uncertainty may be irreducible.


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