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Water and chemical fluxes across the sea floor provide an important linkage between terrestrial and marine environments. Oceanographers recognize that these fluxes may act as a source of nutrients or harmful contaminants to marine systems. They may also act as a beneficial source of freshwater for coastal estuaries that require relatively low salinities. Hydrologists and hydrogeologists recognize that fluxes across the sea floor comprise an important part of the water balance for coastal aquifers. Most fresh groundwater discharge to the ocean is derived from terrestrial aquifer recharge. However, excessive groundwater withdrawals from coastal aquifers can cause saltwater intrusion by intercepting the seaward flux. Quantitative estimates of fresh groundwater discharge toward the coast can provide a basis for determining safe withdrawal rates.
Oceanographers, marine scientists, and those studying and managing saltwater intrusion in coastal aquifers, share a common goal of quantification and understanding of groundwater and seawater interactions. The papers in this volume, an outcome of a symposium organised jointly by the IAHS International Commission on Groundwater and the International Association for the Physical Sciences of the Oceans, IAPSO, in 2007, present research by those working from the marine and terrestrial sides of the issues, and cover a variety of investigative approaches applied at locations worldwide. Together, they form an important contribution to the literature.
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