Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2020WI308B

Impact of changing snow cover and frozen ground regimes on groundwater recharge

Institute: Wisconsin
Year Established: 2020 Start Date: 2020-03-01 End Date: 2021-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $21,466 Total Non-Federal Funds: $23,419

Principal Investigators: James Hurley

Abstract: Understanding the multifaceted feedbacks between snow cover, frozen ground, infiltration and GW recharge arecritical for predicting the ways in which our groundwater resources will be affected by climate variability and changesin environmental conditions. This project will involve a multi-pronged approach to determine the extent to whichchanges in freeze and thaw cycles alter groundwater recharge. A retrospective analysis will be performed usingexisting groundwater, climate and soil temperature observations to quantitatively identify characteristics of frozenground regimes that encourage or inhibit groundwater recharge. These data will be used to develop and calibrate 1-Dcoupled models of snow accumulation and ablation, variably saturated groundwater flow, and heat transport at sitesacross WI and the Upper Midwest and then simulate changes in groundwater recharge resulting from a warmingclimate causing midwinter snowmelt and altered frozen ground characteristics. This will enable us to understand howchanges in Wisconsin’s winter temperatures will differentially affect groundwater recharge in soils spanning a rangeof textural types. To ensure maximum impact of this research, we will engage with the public, regional water resourcemanagers, and researchers through development of a web and social media presence to provide updates on theproject, presentation of results annually at the WI American Water Resources Association meeting, a public “TapTalk†at a WI brewery and submission of at least one peer reviewed manuscript.