Climate change impacts on groundwater hydrology: Where are the main uncertainties and can they be reduced?

J.C Refsgaard, Torben Sonnenborg, Mike Butts, Jens Hesselbjerg Christensen, Steen Christensen, Martin Drews, Karsten Høgh Jensen, Flemming Jørgensen, Morten Larsen, Søren Rasmussen, Lauren Paige Seaby, Dorte Seifert, Troels Norvin Vilhelmsen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This paper assesses how various sources of uncertainty propagate through the uncertainty cascade from emission scenarios through climate models and hydrological models to impacts with particular focus on groundwater aspects for a number of coordinated studies in Denmark. We find results similar to surface water studies showing that climate model uncertainty dominates for projections of climate change impacts on streamflow and groundwater heads. However, we find uncertainties related to geological conceptualisation and hydrological model discretisation to be dominating for projections of well field capture zones, while the climate model uncertainty here is of minor importance. The perspectives of reducing the uncertainties on climate change impact projections related to groundwater are discussed with particular focus on the potentials for reducing climate model biases through use of fully coupled climate-hydrology models.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHydrological Sciences Journal
Issue number13
Pages (from-to)2312-2324
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • climate change
  • hydrological change
  • uncertainty cascade
  • groundwater
  • coupled climate-hydrology model

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