Seasonality of Groundwater Recharge in the Basin and Range Province, Western North America

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/556969
Title:
Seasonality of Groundwater Recharge in the Basin and Range Province, Western North America
Author:
Neff, Kirstin Lynn
Issue Date:
2015
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
Alluvial groundwater systems are an important source of water for communities and biodiverse riparian corridors throughout the arid and semi-arid Basin and Range Geological Province of western North America. These aquifers and their attendant desert streams have been depleted to support a growing population, while projected climate change could lead to more extreme episodes of drought and precipitation in the future. The only source of replenishment to these aquifers is recharge. This dissertation builds upon previous work to characterize and quantify recharge in arid and semi-arid basins by characterizing the intra-annual seasonality of recharge across the Basin and Range Province, and considering how climate change might impact recharge seasonality and volume, as well as fragile riparian corridors that depend on these hydrologic processes. First, the seasonality of recharge in a basin in the sparsely-studied southern extent of the Basin and Range Province is determined using stable water isotopes of seasonal precipitation and groundwater, and geochemical signatures of groundwater and surface water. In northwestern Mexico in the southern reaches of the Basin and Range, recharge is dominated by winter precipitation (69% ± 42%) and occurs primarily in the uplands. Second, isotopically-based estimates of seasonal recharge fractions in basins across the region are compared to identify patterns in recharge seasonality, and used to evaluate a simple water budget-based model for estimating recharge seasonality, the normalized seasonal wetness index (NSWI). Winter precipitation makes up the majority of annual recharge throughout the region, and North American Monsoon (NAM) precipitation has a disproportionately weak impact on recharge. The NSWI does well in estimating recharge seasonality for basins in the northern Basin and Range, but less so in basins that experience NAM precipitation. Third, the seasonal variation in riparian and non-riparian vegetation greenness, represented by the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), is characterized in several of the study basins and climatic and hydrologic controls are identified. Temperature was the most significant driver of vegetation greenness, but precipitation and recharge seasonality played a significant role in some basins at some elevations. Major contributions of this work include a better understanding of recharge in a monsoon-dominated basin, the characterization of recharge seasonality at a regional scale, evaluation of an estimation method for recharge seasonality, and an interpretation of the interaction of seasonal hydrologic processes, vegetation dynamics, and climate change.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
Groundwater; Normalized difference vegetation index; Normalized seasonal wetness index; Recharge; Stable water isotopes; Hydrology; Basin and Range
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Hydrology
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Meixner, Thomas

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoen_USen
dc.titleSeasonality of Groundwater Recharge in the Basin and Range Province, Western North Americaen_US
dc.creatorNeff, Kirstin Lynnen
dc.contributor.authorNeff, Kirstin Lynnen
dc.date.issued2015en
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en
dc.description.abstractAlluvial groundwater systems are an important source of water for communities and biodiverse riparian corridors throughout the arid and semi-arid Basin and Range Geological Province of western North America. These aquifers and their attendant desert streams have been depleted to support a growing population, while projected climate change could lead to more extreme episodes of drought and precipitation in the future. The only source of replenishment to these aquifers is recharge. This dissertation builds upon previous work to characterize and quantify recharge in arid and semi-arid basins by characterizing the intra-annual seasonality of recharge across the Basin and Range Province, and considering how climate change might impact recharge seasonality and volume, as well as fragile riparian corridors that depend on these hydrologic processes. First, the seasonality of recharge in a basin in the sparsely-studied southern extent of the Basin and Range Province is determined using stable water isotopes of seasonal precipitation and groundwater, and geochemical signatures of groundwater and surface water. In northwestern Mexico in the southern reaches of the Basin and Range, recharge is dominated by winter precipitation (69% ± 42%) and occurs primarily in the uplands. Second, isotopically-based estimates of seasonal recharge fractions in basins across the region are compared to identify patterns in recharge seasonality, and used to evaluate a simple water budget-based model for estimating recharge seasonality, the normalized seasonal wetness index (NSWI). Winter precipitation makes up the majority of annual recharge throughout the region, and North American Monsoon (NAM) precipitation has a disproportionately weak impact on recharge. The NSWI does well in estimating recharge seasonality for basins in the northern Basin and Range, but less so in basins that experience NAM precipitation. Third, the seasonal variation in riparian and non-riparian vegetation greenness, represented by the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), is characterized in several of the study basins and climatic and hydrologic controls are identified. Temperature was the most significant driver of vegetation greenness, but precipitation and recharge seasonality played a significant role in some basins at some elevations. Major contributions of this work include a better understanding of recharge in a monsoon-dominated basin, the characterization of recharge seasonality at a regional scale, evaluation of an estimation method for recharge seasonality, and an interpretation of the interaction of seasonal hydrologic processes, vegetation dynamics, and climate change.en
dc.typetexten
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen
dc.subjectGroundwateren
dc.subjectNormalized difference vegetation indexen
dc.subjectNormalized seasonal wetness indexen
dc.subjectRechargeen
dc.subjectStable water isotopesen
dc.subjectHydrologyen
dc.subjectBasin and Rangeen
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen
thesis.degree.disciplineHydrologyen
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen
dc.contributor.advisorMeixner, Thomasen
dc.contributor.committeememberMeixner, Thomasen
dc.contributor.committeememberFerré, Ty P.D.en
dc.contributor.committeememberMcIntosh, Jennifer C.en
dc.contributor.committeemembervan Leeuwen, Willem J.D.en
All Items in UA Campus Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.