2024 CSDMS meeting-024


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Groundwater dynamics in barrier islands: Geophysics-informed numerical modeling

Jeeban Panthi, Kansas State University Manhattan Kansas, United States. jeebanp@ksu.edu

Coastal aquifers, vital freshwater sources for over a billion people globally, often face saltwater intrusion, especially in island freshwater lenses. Despite extensive studies on sea-level rise, storm surges, and over-pumping, the impact of droughts on coastal aquifers, particularly barrier island aquifers reliant solely on aerial recharge, remains understudied. Understanding recharge and salinization processes is crucial for sustainable water resource management amid potential climate change impacts. This study introduces a novel approach to assess a freshwater lens's response to drought conditions, incorporating in-situ observations, geophysical measurements, and numerical modeling. Examining a Northeastern U.S. barrier island's shallow unconfined aquifer during the 2020 drought, the research reveals a reduction in the freshwater lens volume during reduced recharge, emphasizing the vulnerability to droughts and the potential for recovery. Comprehensive studies in this area are essential for informed water resource management.