A climate change study with groundwater lysimeter

The groundwater lysimeter station of UGT was built in 2009 in a grassland site in Spreewald (Brandenburg, Germany) with shallow water table. It was part of the BMBF-funded cooperative research project INKA BB – Innovation Network Climate Adaptation Berlin-Brandenburg, in particular the subproject: Instruments and Strategies for Sustainable Water Management in Large Wetlands, located at the Leibniz centre for agriculture landscape research (ZALF).

wetland site in Spreewald photo credit: UGT GmbH
principle sketch of the installation of a weighable groundwater lysimeter at an investigation site close to the groundwater level photo credit: UGT GmbH

The groundwater lysimeter station consisted of four soil monoliths, each with a surface area of 1 m² and 2 m thick. The installation included a weather station and a soil measuring station for the measurement of meteorological and soil hydraulic reference values.

The weighable groundwater lysimeters together with field measurements in the Spreewald form the basis for the experimental evidence in the project INKA BB. Berlin and Brandenburg are considered to be particularly vulnerable to future climate change. Low annual precipitation and sandy soils with a low water storage capacity also make the region vulnerable in the future to dry periods and heavy precipitation. Given the challenges of climate change and climate adaptation a successful water management is crucially important.

weighable lysimeter station photo credit: UGT GmbH

For this purpose, groundwater lysimeters were placed directly in an investigation area. This allows all relevant water balance parameters to be measured with sufficient accuracy. A reference lysimeter reflects the water balance of the investigated area, further lysimeters are used for the simulation of different adaptation options.

For more information please refer to following publication:
Dietrich, O., Fahle, M., Kaiser, T., Steidl, J. (2019) Eine Lysimeter-Studie zu Auswirkungen unterschiedlicher Grundwasser-Steuerregime auf den Bodenwasserhaushalt eines grundwassernahen Standorts. Hydrologie und Wasserbewirtschaftung 63, 1, 6-18.