University of Oulu

Michelle Nygren, Markus Giese, Bjørn Kløve, Ezra Haaf, Pekka M. Rossi, Roland Barthel, Changes in seasonality of groundwater level fluctuations in a temperate-cold climate transition zone, Journal of Hydrology X, Volume 8, 2020, 100062, ISSN 2589-9155,

Changes in seasonality of groundwater level fluctuations in a temperate-cold climate transition zone

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Author: Nygren, Michelle1; Giese, Markus1; Kløve, Bjørn2;
Organizations: 1Department of Earth Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Guldhedsgatan 5A, 41320 Gothenburg, Sweden
2Water, Energy and Environmental Engineering Research Unit, University of Oulu, Pentti Kaiteran katu 1, 90570 Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 36.2 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-08-20


In cold (i.e. boreal, subarctic, snowy) climate zones, dynamic groundwater storage is greatly affected by the timing and amount of snowmelt. With global warming, cold climates in the northern hemisphere will transition to temperate. As temperatures rise, the dominant type of precipitation will change from snow to rain in winter. Further, the growing season is prolonged. This has a direct impact on the aquifer recharge pattern. However, little is known about the effect of changing annual recharge regimes on groundwater storage.

The present work deduces the impact of shifting climate zones on groundwater storage by evaluating the effect of climate seasonality on intra-annual hydraulic head fluctuations. The work compares intra-annual hydraulic head fluctuations in a temperate-cold climate transition zone (Fennoscandia) from two different periods (1980–1989, 2001–2010). This is done by associating rising vs. declining hydraulic heads with hydrometeorology.

Due to the northwards migration of the temperate climate zone, there is a shift in seasonality between the two periods. This has a negative impact on groundwater levels, which are significantly lower in 2001–2010, particularly near the climate transition zone. The results demonstrate that increasing temperatures in cold climate regions may change the seasonality of groundwater recharge, by altering the main recharge period from being snowmelt-dominated (spring) to rain-dominated (winter). Additionally, this is connected to the duration of the growing season, which impedes groundwater recharge. The coupled effect of this on groundwater in the study area has led to a significant decrease in groundwater storage.

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Series: Journal of hydrology. X
ISSN: 2589-9155
ISSN-E: 2589-9155
ISSN-L: 2589-9155
Volume: 8
Article number: 100062
DOI: 10.1016/j.hydroa.2020.100062
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 218 Environmental engineering
Funding: This study was funded by the Formas project number 2016-00513.
Copyright information: © 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (