Hydrology and Land Surface Studies
Contribution of global groundwater depletion since 1900 to sea-level rise
Article first published online: 2 SEP 2011
Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 38, Issue 17, September 2011
How to Cite
2011), Contribution of global groundwater depletion since 1900 to sea-level rise, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L17401, doi:10.1029/2011GL048604.(
- Issue published online: 2 SEP 2011
- Article first published online: 2 SEP 2011
- Manuscript Accepted: 30 JUL 2011
- Manuscript Revised: 29 JUL 2011
- Manuscript Received: 20 JUN 2011
- sea-level rise
 Removal of water from terrestrial subsurface storage is a natural consequence of groundwater withdrawals, but global depletion is not well characterized. Cumulative groundwater depletion represents a transfer of mass from land to the oceans that contributes to sea-level rise. Depletion is directly calculated using calibrated groundwater models, analytical approaches, or volumetric budget analyses for multiple aquifer systems. Estimated global groundwater depletion during 1900–2008 totals ∼4,500 km3, equivalent to a sea-level rise of 12.6 mm (>6% of the total). Furthermore, the rate of groundwater depletion has increased markedly since about 1950, with maximum rates occurring during the most recent period (2000–2008), when it averaged ∼145 km3/yr (equivalent to 0.40 mm/yr of sea-level rise, or 13% of the reported rate of 3.1 mm/yr during this recent period).