Richard G. Taylor, Bridget Scanlon, Petra Döll, Matt Rodell, Rens van Beek, Yoshihide Wada, Laurent Longuevergne, Marc Leblanc, James S. Famiglietti, Mike Edmunds, Leonard Konikow, Timothy R. Green, Jianyao Chen, Makoto Taniguchi, Marc F.P. Bierkens, Alan MacDonald, Ying Fan, Reed M. Maxwell, Yossi Yechieli, Jason J. Gurdak, Diana M. Allen, Mohammad Shamsudduha, Kevin Hiscock, Pat J.-F. Yeh, Ian Holman, Holger Treidel
As the world's largest distributed store of fresh water, ground water plays a central part in sustaining ecosystems and enabling human adaptation to climate variability and change. The strategic importance of ground water for global water and food security will probably intensify under climate change as more frequent and intense climate extremes (droughts and floods) increase variability in precipitation, soil moisture and surface water. Here we critically review recent research assessing the impacts of climate on ground water through natural and human-induced processes as well as through groundwater-driven feedbacks on the climate system. Furthermore, we examine the possible opportunities and challenges of using and sustaining groundwater resources in climate adaptation strategies, and highlight the lack of groundwater observations, which, at present, limits our understanding of the dynamic relationship between ground water and climate.