A process-based impact of tropical cyclone and hurricane on surface water-groundwater interaction and contaminant mobilization of coastal aquifers

In Progress in Disaster Science
Peer-reviewed Article
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Coastal aquifers are hydraulically connected to the sea and a storm (cyclone/hurricane) can disrupt the surface
water-groundwater (SW-GW) interaction process which is largely unexplored. Thus, this study aims to explore
the impact of storm surges (both positive and negative) on coastal aquifers, focusing on pollutant mobilization,
groundwater level (GWL) fluctuations, and solute concentration (Salinity, Cl-) and subsequent re-stabilization
based on pre-existing studies from the coast of USA and India through a systematic review process. The
outcome of this study revealed that there is a positive relationship between cyclonic speed, rainfall, storm surge
height and GWL in lithologically conductive aquifers. Positive surge raises GWL, salinity and transportation of
surface contaminants into groundwater while negative surge induces fall in salinity, and accelerates submarine
groundwater discharge and exports contaminants/nutrients to sea. The restabilization of SW-GW interaction
dynamics is case dependent, which takes a week to month to years, and is dependent on local hydrogeology and
intensity of storm. So, the study recommends prioritizing to safeguard the coastal groundwater otherwise
increasing storms will lead to questions on freshwater sustainability and coastal ecosystems in present climate
change scenario.

Nagham Mahmoud