Assessing the magnitude and timing of anthropogenic warming of a shallow aquifer: example from Virginia Beach, USA

Hydrogeology Journal
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Abstract

Groundwater temperature measurements in a shallow coastal aquifer in Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA, suggest groundwater warming of +4.1 °C relative to deeper geothermal gradients. Observed warming is related to timing and depth of influence of two potential thermal drivers—atmospheric temperature increases and urbanization. Results indicate that up to 30 % of groundwater warming at the water table can be attributed to atmospheric warming while up to 70 % of warming can be attributed to urbanization. Groundwater temperature readings to 30-m depth correlate positively with percentage of impervious cover and negatively with percentage of tree canopy cover; thus, these two land-use metrics explain up to 70 % of warming at the water table. Analytical and numerical modeling results indicate that an average vertical groundwater temperature profile for the study area, constructed from repeat measurement at 11 locations over 15 months, is consistent with the timing of land-use change over the past century in Virginia Beach. The magnitude of human-induced warming at the water table (+4.1 °C) is twice the current seasonal temperature variation, indicating the potential for ecological impacts on wetlands and estuaries receiving groundwater discharge from shallow aquifers.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Assessing the magnitude and timing of anthropogenic warming of a shallow aquifer: example from Virginia Beach, USA
Series title Hydrogeology Journal
DOI 10.1007/s10040-014-1189-y
Volume 23
Issue 1
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Virginia Water Science Center
Description 16 p.
First page 105
Last page 120
Country United States
State Virginia
City Virginia Beach
Datum North American Datum 1983
Projection Universal Transverse Mercator, Zone 18 North
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N