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Determining groundwater recharge and vapor flow in dune sediments using a weighable precision meteo lysimeter

Kohfahl, Claus, Molano-Leno, Lidia, Martínez, Gonzalo, Vanderlinden, Karl, Guardiola-Albert, Carolina, Moreno, Luis
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.656 pp. 550-557
adsorption, aquifers, ecosystem services, groundwater recharge, lysimeters, rain, sediments, soil water, soil water balance, subhumid zones, vapors, wetlands, wildlife, Atlantic Ocean, Spain
Dune belts are crucial for the recharge of coastal aquifers. In spite of their hydrological relevance for the maintenance of precious natural wetland and wildlife environments and a range of other ecosystem services, only limited knowledge of soil water dynamics in dune belts is currently available. This study presents soil water balance components measured during one hydrological year using a high precision meteo-lysimeter with lower boundary control installed in a coastal dune belt under a dry subhumid climate in southern Spain close to the Atlantic Ocean. The site is equipped with a cylindrical lysimeter of 1 m2 surface and 1.50 m height (METER Group, Inc. USA) and a weighing resolution of 10 g, 2 SC650 soil moisture sensors (Campbell Scientific, Logan, UT) and 1 automatic meteorological station. The lower boundary condition at the bottom of the lysimeter is controlled at 1.4 m depth by a bidirectional peristaltic pump to maintain field conditions. Results show a recharge rate of 64% of the precipitation measured by the lysimeter. Diurnal oscillations of the measured upper boundary flow during days without rainfall represented vapor adsorption and real evaporation rates ranging between 0.3 and 0.4 mm/day and 0.4 and 0.6 mm/day, respectively throughout the whole year summing up an annual vapor adsorption of 77 mm. The measured precipitation of the lysimeter exceeded pluviometer data by 13% as a result of vapor adsorption. The presented results provide a precise balance of soil water components in a coastal dune belt including the relevant contribution of vapor flow.