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Relative Contribution of Monsoon Precipitation and Pumping to Changes in Groundwater Storage in IndiaThe depletion of groundwater resources threatens food and water security in India. However, the relative influence of groundwater pumping and climate variability on groundwater availability and storage remains unclear. Here we show from analyses of satellite and local well data spanning the past decade that long-term changes in monsoon precipitation are driving groundwater storage variability in most parts of India either directly by changing recharge or indirectly by changing abstraction. We find that groundwater storage has declined in northern India at the rate of 2 cm/yr and increased by 1 to 2 cm/yr in southern India between 2002 and 2013. We find that a large fraction of the total variability in groundwater storage in north-central and southern India can be explained by changes in precipitation. Groundwater storage variability in northwestern India can be explained predominantly by variability in abstraction for irrigation, which is in turn influenced by changes in precipitation. Declining precipitation in northern India is linked to Indian Ocean warming, suggesting a previously unrecognized teleconnection between ocean temperatures and groundwater storage.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Asoka, Akarsh (Indian Inst. of Tech. Bombay, India)
Gleeson, Tom (Victoria Univ. Victoria, British Columbia, Canada)
Wada, Yoshihide (NASA Goddard Inst. for Space Studies New York, NY, United States)
Mishra, Vimal (Indian Inst. of Tech. Bombay, India)
Date Acquired
January 31, 2017
Publication Date
January 9, 2017
Publication Information
Publication: Nature Geoscience
Volume: 10
Subject Category
Earth Resources and Remote Sensing
Meteorology and Climatology
Report/Patent Number
Distribution Limits
Climate-change impacts
Developing world
Water resources