Groundwater responses to barometric pressure fluctuations are characterized using the concept of barometric efficiency (BE). For semiconfined and confined aquifers, BE values can be used to provide efficient, low-cost estimates of specific storage. This study compares, for the first time, eight existing methods of BE estimation. Comparisons were undertaken using data from the Peel region of Western Australia. Fourier analysis and regression deconvolution methods were used to estimate aquifer confinement status. The former approach was found to be robust and provided a quantitative basis for spatial comparisons of the degree of confinement. The latter approach was confounded by the presence of diurnal and/or semidiurnal signals. For wells at which semiconfined or confined responses were identified, frequency and time domain methods were used to estimate BE values. Most BE estimation methods were similarly confounded by diurnal and/or semidiurnal signals, with the exception of the Acworth et al. (2016) method. Specific storage values calculated from BE values were order-of-magnitude consistent with the results of four historical pumping tests. The methods implemented in this research provide efficient, low-cost alternatives to hydraulic testing for estimating aquifer confinement, as well as the BE and specific storage of semiconfined and confined aquifers. The frequency and duration of observations required by these methods are minimal; for example, typically requiring a minimum of four observations per day over a four month period. In some locations they may allow additional insights to be derived from existing groundwater hydrograph data.
© 2019, National Ground Water Association.