Subsurface thermal regime is affected not only by thermal conduction but also by advection owing to groundwater flow. The effect of thermal advection is especially large in shallow sedimentary layer with active groundwater flow. Subsurface temperature distributions in some basins and plains in Japan are affected by regional groundwater flow systems. Both field observation and simulation results in the study area show that thermal transport conducted by regional groundwater flow system, driven by topographic effect, distorts subsurface temperature distributions. Moreover, subsurface temperature distributions in the Yonezawa Basin and Nagaoka Plain show effect of groundwater pumping. Subsurface temperatures in shallow layers in these areas have seasonal change due to groundwater pumping for snow melting in winter season.
In recent years, subsurface temperature data have been used for reconstruction of ground surface temperature (GST) history as well. The effects of temperature change at the ground surface in the past have conducted into subsurface and have been recorded as transient temperature perturbations onto the background thermal field. Many studies on GST history in North America and Europe are inferred from inversion of borehole temperature profiles in log data.
On the other hand, direct utilization of low-temperature geothermal resources, such as geothermal heat pump system, is important from the viewpoint of reduction of CO2 that causes global warming. Such systems are gradually increasing in Japan. To evaluate the influence of direct utilization onto subsurface temperature, an areal simulation, which numerical model was cut out from regional 3D groundwater flow and heat transport model of the Sendai plains, was conducted.
Subsurface temperature observed with comparative ease includes important clues to understand global environment problems and/or hints for development of new energy to preserve global environment.
It is hoped that hydrological knowledge contributes to understand many problems in various studies with subsurface temperature.