USGS Groundwater Information
Groundwater Resources Program
New & Noteworthy
USGS Groundwater Watch
USGS maintains a network of active wells to provide basic statistics about groundwater levels.
Other Water Topics
USGS in Your State
USGS Water Science Centers are located in each state.
Effects of Climate Variability on Groundwater Availability
GWRP supports applied research into the effects of climate variability on groundwater availability.
Purpose & Scope
Climate change refers to any change in climate over time, whether due to natural variability or as a result of human activity (IPCC, 2007). The potential consequences of climate change have been identified as major issues facing the availability of groundwater resources in the United States (US) (Alley and others, 1999). To better understand these potential consequences of climate variability on groundwater resources of the Principal Aquifers of the US at the National scale, GWRP is supporting a proof-of-concept assessment to investigate the following questions:
The project began in mid-2008 and will run through late 2009.
Methods & Activities
To develop the fundamental knowledge base that is required to address these issues, GWRP is supporting a proof-of-concept assessment of the Mississippi Embayment Regional Aquifer System (MERAS). The project is being conducted by researchers in the USGS Colorado, California, and Arkansas Water Science Centers. Through this project, the USGS will compile, analyze, and synthesize existing hydrologic time series in the MERAS. This information will provide a basis for understanding the effects of annual, interannual, and multidecadal climate variability on aspects of the hydrologic budget of the MERAS, including recharge, discharge, and change in storage. The results will be used to improve the calibration of groundwater availability modeling to predict the MERAS responses to climate variability in the next fifty years. The results of the assessment will provide information to inform future assessments of other Principal Aquifers across the US.
For more information:
Jason J. Gurdak, Hydrologist
For more information on climate variability and USGS science: