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A watershed-scale study of climate change impacts on groundwater recharge (Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia, Canada)

The potential impacts of future climate change on the evolution of groundwater recharge are examined at a local scale for a 546-km2 watershed in eastern Canada. Recharge is estimated using the infiltration model Hydrologic Evaluation of Landfill Performance (HELP), with inputs derived from
five climate runs generated by a regional climate model in combination with the A2 greenhouse gas emissions scenario. The model runs project an increase in annual recharge over the 2041-2070 period. On a seasonal basis, however, a marked decrease in recharge during the summer and a marked increase
during the winter are observed. The results suggest that increased evapotranspiration resulting from higher temperatures does not offset the large increase in winter infiltration. In terms of individual water budget components, clear differences are obtained for the different climate change
scenarios. Monthly recharge values are also found to be quite variable, even for a given climate scenario. These findings are compared with results from two regional-scale studies.

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