Groundwater recharge in arid areas induced by tropical cyclones: Lessons learned from Gonu 2007 in Sultanate of Oman

Osman Abdalla, Rashid bin Yahya Al-Abri

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21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Younger groundwater found in some Omani aquifers is a result of recent recharge from cyclonic and storm events [Weyhenmeyer et al. (Science 287:842-845, 2000); Young et al. (J Appl Geophys 57:43-61, 2004)]. The analysis of the meteorological data in Oman indicates an anomalous rainfall on a decadal interval whereas cyclones frequency is expected to increase due to global climatic changes. The cyclone Gonu has severely struck the eastern Omani coasts in 2007 resulting in devastating floods. Huge volume of water (3,672 mm3) spread over the coastal plain calling for an assessment of potential groundwater recharge subsequent to this event. The present study evaluates groundwater recharge with respect to Gonu 2007 to assess the potential of recharge induced by such cyclones in the arid zones. The hydrographs of several piezometers sited along the coastal plain in Muscat Province have been studied and variation in water table rise has been analyzed. Significant water table rise is indicated for areas with geological and structural settings favoring rapid infiltration of water yielding considerable groundwater mound, whereas piezometers located in less favorable zones show minimum rise of water table. However, soon after the floods the aquifer hydrodynamics has readjusted to attain equilibrium and the groundwater mound dissipated. The cumulative rise of the water table on an areal extent does not exceed a few centimeters indicating lesser volume of recharge. Comparatively, recharge from frequent precipitation along favorable zones produces more significant recharge compared with cyclonic events where surface water residence time is shorter to allow for efficient infiltration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-239
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Earth Sciences
Volume63
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2011

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Keywords

  • Gonu
  • Groundwater
  • Hydrographs
  • Oman
  • Recharge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Geology
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Pollution
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Soil Science

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