It is well established that feedbacks between groundwater depth, surface runoff, and land energy fluxes can influence water availability and dynamic system behavior. However, much of the work to establish these connections has been completed on the catchment scale. Groundwater is difficult to observe over large scales, and groundwater-surface water interactions are largely excluded or greatly simplified in continental and global modeling efforts. Integrated hydrologic models are one way to bridge this gap. Here, I present a series of modeling studies that evaluate connections between lateral groundwater flow, surface water availability for natural and perturbed systems. Model outputs are used to characterize groundwater-surface water exchanges across a wide range of hydroclimatic settings and spatial scales. I evaluate patterns in groundwater depth, land energy partitioning and basin productivity to identify areas of strong interaction between the surface and subsurface. Results illuminate the importance of lateral groundwater flow in supporting surface water availability and moderating temporal variability in many settings at large scales.
Laura Condon is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Arizona. Her research focuses on water sustainability and the dynamics of hydrologic systems in the context of past development and future climate change. Her work combines physically-based numerical modeling with statistical techniques. She received her graduate degrees from the Colorado School of Mines and was an Assistant Professor at Syracuse University before joining the UA. In addition to her academic positions, Dr. Condon also worked in consulting and for the Bureau of Reclamation Technical Services Center, primarily on long-term water availability issues in the western U.S.