Water Resources Science
The Arabian Peninsula is one of Earth’s largest arid regions. However, in past climatic regimes, precipitation was 50% to 100% higher, forming fossil groundwater aquifers that represent a substantial part of the groundwater in the region today. Currently, the Arabian Peninsula is using more groundwater than is replenished and the climate changes predicted for the coming decades will only make the situation worse. With increasing water demand in the future and the pressures of climate change, new tools must be brought to the effort to measure the inputs and outputs of the hydrological cycle so that the limited water resources can be sustainably managed.
In this project, we combine remote sensing and in situ observations with hydrologic models to monitor the state and dynamics of the hydrologic cycle in the Arabian peninsula. Remote sensing data include orbital observations of mass changes, surface deformation, surface water, soil moisture, and many other parameters. In situ data on the other hand include continuous GPS measurements of ground deformation, data from wells on water surface elevation and subsurface geology, and shallow seismic observations of the structure and water content of shallow aquifers. Models will unify and provide a context for the observations. We expect to provide information on the balance between use and recharge of aquifers and sustainability in the present and potential future climates.
Made a country-scale satellite approach assessment of groundwater depletion in Saudi Arabia using the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE).
Studied the correlation between precipitation and soil moisture in order to understand the seasonality and recharge conditions in shallow aquifers.
Investigated the possible reasons behind the observed depletion and their correlation with policy.
Project Team Members