A global reconstruction of climate-driven subdecadal water storage variability

Geophysical Research Letters | Humphrey et al. [2017]

Abstract

Since 2002, the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission has provided unprecedented observations of global mass redistribution caused by hydrological processes. However, there are still few sources on pre-2002 global terrestrial water storage (TWS). Classical approaches to retrieve past TWS rely on either land surface models (LSMs) or basin-scale water balance calculations. Here we propose a new approach which statistically relates anomalies in atmospheric drivers to monthly GRACE anomalies. Gridded subdecadal TWS changes and time-dependent uncertainty intervals are reconstructed for the period 1985–2015. Comparisons with model results demonstrate the performance and robustness of the derived data set, which represents a new and valuable source for studying subdecadal TWS variability, closing the ocean/land water budgets and assessing GRACE uncertainties. At midpoint between GRACE observations and LSM simulations, the statistical approach provides TWS estimates (doi:10.5905/ethz-1007-85) that are essentially derived from observations and are based on a limited number of transparent model assumptions.

Full text can be found here.

 

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