CSIRO at the Waite Campus, Urrbrae

Land and Water Seminars are held at the Waite Campus, Urrbrae.

Land and Water Seminar Series Adelaide

CSIRO Land and Water free public seminars in Adelaide.

  • 17 May 2012 | Updated 24 August 2012

Noble gases as proxies for water residence times and environmental conditions 

Presenter: Professor Dr Rolf Kipfer

Date: Wednesday 5 September 2012

Time: 4:00 pm


Groundwater does not only move in space but it also develops in time. Groundwater ages can range from days and decades to 107 years. Although the knowledge of water residence time is of paramount importance for sustainable use of natural groundwaters, information on water age is only rarely available. In the recent years tracer-based methods for the determination of groundwater water residence times became available. These methods do not only yield information on water renewal rates, but also allow reconstruction of the environmental conditions that prevailed during groundwater recharge (e.g. soil temperature, hydraulic conditions at recharge).

The scientific potential of these methods is illustrated in two case studies. The first study characterized the relation between the occurrence of geogenic arsenic and the local hydrological conditions in groundwaters in Bangladesh. The second study analysed the groundwater recharge during the last glaciation in Wisconsin, USA.

About the speaker

Dr Rolf Kipfer (RoKi) holds a PhD in Natural Sciences from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), where he lectures at the Department of Environmental Sciences. He is head of the Department of Water Resources and Drinking Water at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag), where he is also group leader of the Environmental Isotopes research group. This group uses transient tracers and time-series analysis to study physical processes in aquatic environments and to analyse the response of water bodies to environmental and climatic change. Transient tracers and noble gases are used to analyse deep water formation in lakes and oceans and to reconstruct past climatic and hydraulic conditions from ground waters. The group is well known for applying noble gases in novel aquatic environments, such as fluid inclusions in stalagmites or pore water of unconsolidated lake sediments.

Dr Kipfer is currently spending an eight month sabbatical at the National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training at Flinders University.

Chair: Axel Suckow

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