NASA has discovered a new way to look at water loss under the Earth

NASA has a new way to look at water loss under the Earth

Irrigation will allow farmers to grow crops in the central California valley, but the groundwater is declining. A NASA study offers a new tool for earth navigation. Available: California Treasury / Dale Kolke

The researchers uncovered clumpy patterns of landslides and landslides that bind down to underground areas where water is boiled for water.

Scientists have come up with a new way to keep the promise of improving the world’s water supply – important for survival and agriculture in arid regions. The method separates how much groundwater is lost from aquifers that are covered in clay, which can be drained and not dried up to regenerate, and how much is obtained from the soil in not fixed in water, it can be refilled over several years. it is normal.

The research team studied the Tulare River in California, part of the Central Valley. The team found that the key to separating these underground water sources was related to the patterns of falling and rising sea levels in this large agricultural area.

The Central Valley accounts for only 1% of America’s agricultural land, but grows an astonishing 40% of the table of fruits, vegetables, and nuts each year. The same can be done because farmers increase 5 to 10 inches (12 to 25 centimeters) of the valley’s annual rainfall with significant loss of soil water. In dry years, more than 80% of irrigation water comes from underground.

After ten years of boiling, the water resources under the earth are running low. Wells in the Tulare River must be drilled at a depth of 3,500 feet (over 1,000 meters) to get enough water. There was no way to accurately measure how much water would be put underground, but officials had to use everything properly. It’s about seeing if water is being drawn from aquifers or from soft soils, called water bodies. In this vast country with tens of thousands of unseen wells, the only way to do that is to use satellite data.

A team of researchers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory in Northern California have begun working on a way to do it right. They tackled the problem by combining data on water loss from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) and GRACE Follow-On satellites with data on climate change from an ESA (European Space Agency) Sentinel-1 satellite. Water level changes in this area are often associated with reservoirs because when water leaks into the land, it falls and seeps into the spaces where the water resides – a process called subsidence.

NASA has a new way to look at water loss under the Earth

This map shows changes in the amount of water, above and below the surface of the earth, in California from 2003 to 2013, as measured by NASA’s GRACE satellite. Dark red indicates significant water loss. The Central Valley is shown in yellow; the land of Tulare is covered on the south third. Groundwater levels continue to recede to this day. Available: NASA / GSFC / SVS

The Tulare River is declining significantly: The current rate is about one foot (0.3 meters) of dam per year. But from one month to the next, the soil falls, rises or remains permanently. Furthermore, these changes are not consistent with the intended causes. For example, after a heavy rain, the water table rises. The sea level seems to rise, but sometimes it falls.

The researchers hypothesized that these mysterious short -term differences might hold the key to determining the causes of boiling water. “The big question is, how do we explain the change that is taking place in these short periods of time: Is it only short -lived, or is it significant?” said Kyra Kim, a postdoctoral fellow at JPL and author of the paper, seen at Nature Scientific Reports.

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Kim and her colleagues believe the changes affect the different types of soil in the glass. Aquifers are bounded by pieces of hard and impermeable clay, but more soft soils that are not bound. When water is pumped out of an aquifer, the clay will hold for longer in response to the weight of the earth’s pressure from above. Unstable soils, on the other hand, rise or fall quickly in response to rain or boiling.

The researchers performed a simple statistical model of these two soil layers in the Tulare Basin. By removing the long -term depreciation from the global change data, they created a database of different types each month. Their model showed that in this time scale, all changes in the sea level can be explained by changes in the aquifers, not the water table.

For example, in the spring, there is little rainfall in the central valley, so the water table is constantly falling. However, the Sierra Nevada is being reclaimed, and sea levels are rising. When the water table rises in the rain, if the aquifers are pumping at the same time from boiling in the previous dry season, the earth’s surface will collapse. The model accurately reflects the effects of seasonal events such as heavy rainfall in the winter of 2016-17. This is consistent with the small amount of data available from sources and GPS.

Kim suggested that the new model could be used to illustrate other agricultural areas where groundwater use needs to be monitored. With a launch planned for 2023, the NASA-ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) mission will measure changes at the Earth’s surface at a higher altitude than Sentinel-1. Researchers can combine NISAR data with data from GRACE Follow-On to this model for agricultural benefits around the world. “We’re going to have a very beautiful marriage between the remote features and the numbers to combine everything,” Kim said.


Critical water supplies could no longer be recovered from the drought


More information:
Donald W. Vasco et al, Using Sentinel-1 and GRACE satellite data to monitor different types of water in the Tulare Basin, California, Scientific Evidence (2022). DOI: 10.1038 / s41598-022-07650-1

Provided by Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Directions: NASA finds new way to monitor groundwater loss (2022, April 5) Retrieved April 5, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-04- nasa-underground-loss.html

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