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Quantitative Detection and Attribution of Groundwater Level Variations in the Amu Darya Delta

by 1,2,3,4,5,6, 7, 1,2,5,6,8,*, 1,2,5,6,8, 4,5,6, 1,2,3, 1,2,3 and 8,9
State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, China
Key Laboratory of GIS & RS Application, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Urumqi 830011, China
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
Department of Geography, Ghent University, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
Sino-Belgian Joint Laboratory of Geo-Information, Urumqi 830011, China
Sino-Belgian Joint Laboratory of Geo-Information, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
Institute of Environmental Science and Geography, University of Potsdam, Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 24–25, 14476 Potsdam, Germany
CAS Research Center for Ecology and Environment of Central Asia, Urumqi 830011, China
Tashkent Institute of Irrigation and Agricultural Mechanization Engineers, Tashkent 999033, Uzbekistan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2020, 12(10), 2869;
Received: 11 September 2020 / Revised: 10 October 2020 / Accepted: 12 October 2020 / Published: 15 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Assessment of Spatial and Temporal Variability of Water Resources)
In the past few decades, the shrinkage of the Aral Sea is one of the biggest ecological catastrophes caused by human activity. To quantify the joint impact of both human activities and climate change on groundwater, the spatiotemporal groundwater dynamic characteristics in the Amu Darya Delta of the Aral Sea from 1999 to 2017 were analyzed, using the groundwater level, climate conditions, remote sensing data, and irrigation information. Statistics analysis was adopted to analyze the trend of groundwater variation, including intensity, periodicity, spatial structure, while the Pearson correlation analysis and principal component analysis (PCA) were used to quantify the impact of climate change and human activities on the variabilities of the groundwater level. Results reveal that the local groundwater dynamic has varied considerably. From 1999 to 2002, the groundwater level dropped from −189 cm to −350 cm. Until 2017, the groundwater level rose back to −211 cm with fluctuation. Seasonally, the fluctuation period of groundwater level and irrigation water was similar, both were about 18 months. Spatially, the groundwater level kept stable within the irrigation area and bare land but fluctuated drastically around the irrigation area. The Pearson correlation analysis reveals that the dynamic of the groundwater level is closely related to irrigation activity within the irrigation area (Nukus: −0.583), while for the place adjacent to the Aral Sea, the groundwater level is closely related to the Large Aral Sea water level (Muynak: 0.355). The results of PCA showed that the cumulative contribution rate of the first three components exceeds 85%. The study reveals that human activities have a great impact on groundwater, effective management, and the development of water resources in arid areas is an essential prerequisite for ecological protection. View Full-Text
Keywords: groundwater level variation; climate change; human activities; statistical analysis; Amu Darya Delta groundwater level variation; climate change; human activities; statistical analysis; Amu Darya Delta
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Pan, X.; Wang, W.; Liu, T.; Huang, Y.; Maeyer, P.D.; Guo, C.; Ling, Y.; Akmalov, S. Quantitative Detection and Attribution of Groundwater Level Variations in the Amu Darya Delta. Water 2020, 12, 2869.

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