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Interannual to multidecadal climate forcings on groundwater resources of the U.S. West Coast

January 25, 2016

Study region

The U.S. West Coast, including the Pacific Northwest and California Coastal Basins aquifer systems.

Study focus

Groundwater response to interannual to multidecadal climate variability has important implications for security within the water–energy–food nexus. Here we use Singular Spectrum Analysis to quantify the teleconnections between AMO, PDO, ENSO, and PNA and precipitation and groundwater level fluctuations. The computer program DAMP was used to provide insight on the influence of soil texture, depth to water, and mean and period of a surface infiltration flux on the damping of climate signals in the vadose zone.

New hydrological insights for the region

We find that PDO, ENSO, and PNA have significant influence on precipitation and groundwater fluctuations across a north-south gradient of the West Coast, but the lower frequency climate modes (PDO) have a greater influence on hydrologic patterns than higher frequency climate modes (ENSO and PNA). Low frequency signals tend to be preserved better in groundwater fluctuations than high frequency signals, which is a function of the degree of damping of surface variable fluxes related to soil texture, depth to water, mean and period of the infiltration flux. The teleconnection patterns that exist in surface hydrologic processes are not necessarily the same as those preserved in subsurface processes, which are affected by damping of some climate variability signals within infiltrating water.

Publication Year 2017
Title Interannual to multidecadal climate forcings on groundwater resources of the U.S. West Coast
DOI 10.1016/j.ejrh.2015.11.018
Authors Elzie M. Velasco, Jason J. Gurdak, Jesse E. Dickinson, T.P.A. Ferré, Claudia Corona
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies
Index ID 70162514
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Arizona Water Science Center