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GroMoPo Metadata for Global gradient-based groundwater model

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Created: Feb 07, 2023 at 6:31 p.m.
Last updated: Apr 17, 2023 at 2:46 p.m.
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In global hydrological models, groundwater (GW) is typically represented by a bucket-like linear groundwater reservoir. Reservoir models, however, (1) can only simulate GW discharge to surface water (SW) bodies but not recharge from SW to GW, (2) provide no information on the location of the GW table, and (3) assume that there is no GW flow among grid cells. This may lead, for example, to an underestimation of groundwater resources in semiarid areas where GW is often replenished by SW or to an underestimation of evapotranspiration where the GW table is close to the land surface. To overcome these limitations, it is necessary to replace the reservoir model in global hydrological models with a hydraulic head gradient-based GW flow model. We present G(3)M, a new global gradient-based GW model with a spatial resolution of 5 0 (arcminutes), which is to be integrated into the 0.5 degrees WaterGAP Global Hydrology Model (WGHM). The newly developed model framework enables in-memory coupling to WGHM while keeping overall run-time relatively low, which allows sensitivity analyses, calibration, and data assimilation. This paper presents the G3M concept and model design decisions that are specific to the large grid size required for a global-scale model. Model results under steady-state naturalized conditions, i.e., neglecting GW abstractions, are shown. Simulated hydraulic heads show better agreement to observations around the world compared to the model output of de Graaf et al. (2015). Locations of simulated SW recharge to GW are found, as is expected, in dry and mountainous regions but areal extent of SW recharge may be underestimated. Globally, GW dis-charge to rivers is by far the dominant flow component such that lateral GW flows only become a large fraction of total diffuse and focused recharge in the case of losing rivers, some mountainous areas, and some areas with very low GW recharge. A strong sensitivity of simulated hydraulic heads to the spatial resolution of the model and the related choice of the water table elevation of surface water bodies was found. We suggest to investigate how global-scale ground-water modeling at 5' spatial resolution can benefit from more highly resolved land surface elevation data.

NOTE: Model has global extent, bounding box is positioned over the Atlantic Ocean for visibility.

Subject Keywords



Coordinate System/Geographic Projection:
WGS 84 EPSG:4326
Coordinate Units:
Decimal degrees
Place/Area Name:
North Latitude
East Longitude
South Latitude
West Longitude


Additional Metadata

Name Value
DOI 10.5194/gmd-12-2401-2019
Depth 200
Scale Global
Layers 2-5 layers
Purpose groundwater resources
GroMoPo_ID 78
IsVerified True
Model Code G3M
Model Link
Model Time SS
Model Year 2019
Model Authors Reinecke, R.
Model Country Global
Data Available output publicly available
Developer Email
Dominant Geology Other
Developer Country Germany
Publication Title Challenges in developing a global gradient-based groundwater model (G(3)M v1.0) for the integration into a global hydrological model
Original Developer Yes
Additional Information
Integration or Coupling Surface water;Water use
Evaluation or Calibration static water levels
Geologic Data Availability

How to Cite

GroMoPo, R. Reinecke (2023). GroMoPo Metadata for Global gradient-based groundwater model, HydroShare,

This resource is shared under the Creative Commons Attribution CC BY.


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