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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Is Current Hydrogeologic Research Addressing Long-Term Predictions?

  • Author(s): Tsang, Chin-Fu
  • et al.

Hydrogeology is a field closely related to the needs of society. Many problems of current national and local interest require predictions of hydrogeological system behavior, and, in a number of important cases, the period of prediction is tens to hundreds of thousands of years. It is argued that the demand for such long-term hydrogeological predictions casts a new light on the future needs of hydrogeological research. Key scientific issues are no longer concerned only with simple processes or narrowly focused modeling or testing methods, but also with assessment of prediction uncertainties and confidence, couplings among multiple physico-chemical processes occurring simultaneously at a site, and the interplay between site characterization and predictive modeling. These considerations also have significant implications for hydrogeological education. With this view, it is asserted that hydrogeological directions and education need to be reexamined and possibly refocused to address specific needs for long-term predictions.

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