Abstract

Low-enthalpy ground source heating systems can help to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, in turn reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing energy security. To de-risk and support the sustainable development, regulation and management of ground source heating systems in urban areas, detailed baseline mapping of groundwater temperatures is required. Groundwater temperatures were measured in 168 monitoring boreholes primarily within a Quaternary sand and gravel aquifer in the city of Cardiff, UK. The data have been used to create the first city-wide map of shallow groundwater temperatures in the UK. This map can be used both to support development of ground source heating and to act as a detailed baseline from which to measure change. Shallow groundwater temperatures under the city were found to be 2°C warmer than the UK average groundwater temperature and this additional heat is attributed to the urban heat island. The zone of seasonal fluctuation varies from 7.1 and 15.5 m below ground level (mbgl) within the shallow Quaternary aquifer, averaging 9.5 mbgl. Deeper groundwater temperature profiles incorporating both the Quaternary and bedrock aquifers suggest that a ‘zone of anthropogenic influence’ exists down to about 70 mbgl.

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