Estimating temporal changes in hydraulic head using InSAR data in the San Luis Valley, Colorado

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Abstract

The sustainability of the confined aquifer system in the San Luis Valley, Colorado is of utmost importance to the valley's agricultural economy. There is a dearth of hydraulic head measurements in the confined aquifer to which the current groundwater flow model can be calibrated. Here we investigate the extent to which spatially and temporally dense measurements of deformation from Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) data can be used to fill in spatial and temporal gaps in the head data set by calibrating the InSAR data with head at the monitoring well locations. We conduct this calibration at 11 wells where we expect sufficient deformation for reliable InSAR measurement, given the accepted level of uncertainty (∼1 cm). In the San Luis Valley, crop growth degrades the quality of the InSAR signal, which means that the high-quality deformation data may not be collocated with the wells. We use kriging to estimate the deformation directly at the well locations. We find that the calibration is valid at three well locations where the seasonal magnitude of the deformation is much larger than the uncertainty of the InSAR measurement. At these well locations, we predict head prior to and within the temporal sampling window of the head measurements. We find that 59% of the InSAR-predicted hydraulic head values agree with the measured values, within the uncertainty of the data. Given our success in extending the hydraulic head data temporally, the next step in our research is to use InSAR data to interpolate spatially between head measurements.

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