Seasonal and longterm changes in groundwater levels

Seasonal and longterm changes in groundwater levels

The goal of this visualization is to show on one hand the beauty and overwhelming complexity of the natural cycle of wet and dry seasons, and on the other hand, the alarming observation that this cycle is being broken by overconsumption of groundwater.

The animation shows the relation between seasonal and longterm changes in groundwater levels. It shows the seasonal changes in groundwater levels over a period of several years using the data from the GRACE project. Heavy seasonal rainfall in the Amazon and the monsoons of Asia and west Africa show up as yearly spikes (in blue) in groundwater reserves. However, as the yearly cycle of depletion and replenishment continues, several areas show a continuous decline in groundwater reservers when compared to the same period in previous years. These areas of longterm decline are indicated in pink.
The base of the NASDAQ screen shows several longterm statistics of specific area’s in succession, all but a few show a steady decline over a longer period of time. In addition to showing the same seasonal changes as the NASDAQ screen, the Reuters building’s high vertically stretched screen is used to visualize longterm changes in groundwater levels in several key areas, as a kind of virtual gauging rod. The four side screens of the Reuters building each zoom-in to different parts of the world: The Americas, Africa, Europe and Asia.

A graphic simulation of both screens working in tandem is available at:

A simulation of the Reuters Screen is available at:

A simulation of the NASDAQ screen is available at:

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James Famiglietti's picture

Truly excellent work!