Assessing Sea Level Rise Impacts on the Surficial Aquifer in the Kennedy Space Center Region
Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Global sea level rise in the past century due to climate change has been seen at an average rate of approximately 1.7-2.2 mm per year, with an increasing rate over the next century. The increasing SLR rate poses a severe threat to the low-lying land surface and the shallow groundwater system in the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, resulting in saltwater intrusion and groundwater induced flooding. A three-dimensional groundwater flow and salinity transport model is implemented to investigate and evaluate the extent of floods due to rising water table as well as saltwater intrusion. The SEAWAT model is chosen to solve the variable-density groundwater flow and salinity transport governing equations and simulate the regional-scale spatial and temporal evolution of groundwater level and chloride concentration. The horizontal resolution of the model is 50 m, and the vertical domain includes both the Surficial Aquifer and the Floridan Aquifer. The numerical model is calibrated based on the observed hydraulic head and chloride concentration. The potential impacts of sea level rise on saltwater intrusion and groundwater induced flooding are assessed under various sea level rise scenarios. Based on the simulation results, the potential landward movement of saltwater and freshwater fringe is projected. The existing water supply wells are examined overlaid with the projected salinity distribution map. The projected Surficial Aquifer water tables are overlaid with data of high resolution land surface elevation, land use and land cover, and infrastructure to assess the potential impacts of sea level rise. This study provides useful tools for decision making on ecosystem management, water supply planning, and facility management.