Climatic Change

, Volume 117, Issue 1–2, pp 41–53 | Cite as

An assessment of the climate change impacts on groundwater recharge at a continental scale using a probabilistic approach with an ensemble of GCMs

  • Russell S. Crosbie
  • Trevor Pickett
  • Freddie S. Mpelasoka
  • Geoff Hodgson
  • Stephen P. Charles
  • Olga V. Barron


This study used 16 Global Climate Models and three global warming scenarios to make projections of recharge under a 2050 climate for the entire Australian continent at a 0.05° grid resolution. The results from these 48 future climate variants have been fitted to a probability distribution to enable the results to be summarised and uncertainty quantified. The median results project a reduction in recharge across the west, centre and south of Australia and an increase in recharge across the north and a small area in the east of the continent. The range of results is quite large and for large parts of the continent encompasses both increases and decreases in recharge. This makes it difficult to utilise for water resources management so the results have been analysed with a risk analysis framework; this enables the future projections for groundwater recharge to be communicated to water managers in terms of likelihood and consequence of a reduction in recharge. This highlights an important message for water resource managers that in most areas of Australia they will be making decisions on water allocations under considerable uncertainty as to the direction and magnitude of recharge change under a future climate and that this uncertainty may be irreducible.


Future Climate Groundwater Recharge Hydrological Model Continental Scale Future Climate Scenario 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The project team would like to acknowledge the National Water Commission for providing funding to support the current study under the National Groundwater Action Plan and CMIP3 for providing GCM outputs.

Supplementary material

10584_2012_558_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.2 mb)
ESM 1 (PDF 1246 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Russell S. Crosbie
    • 1
  • Trevor Pickett
    • 2
  • Freddie S. Mpelasoka
    • 3
  • Geoff Hodgson
    • 4
  • Stephen P. Charles
    • 4
  • Olga V. Barron
    • 4
  1. 1.CSIRO Water for a Healthy Country National Research FlagshipCSIRO Land and WaterGlen OsmondAustralia
  2. 2.CSIRO Water for a Healthy Country National Research FlagshipCSIRO Land and WaterDutton ParkAustralia
  3. 3.CSIRO Water for a Healthy Country National Research FlagshipCSIRO Land and WaterCanberraAustralia
  4. 4.CSIRO Water for a Healthy Country National Research FlagshipCSIRO Land and WaterWembleyAustralia

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