Using Satellite-Based Terrestrial Water Storage Data: A Review

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Abstract

Land water storage plays a key role for the Earth’s climate, natural ecosystems, and human activities. Since the launch of the first Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission in 2002, spaceborne observations of changes in terrestrial water storage (TWS) have provided a unique, global perspective on natural and human-induced changes in freshwater resources. Even though they have become much used within the broader Earth system science community, space-based TWS datasets still incorporate important and case-specific limitations which may not always be clear to users not familiar with the underlying processing algorithms. Here, we provide an accessible and illustrated overview of the measurement concept, of the main available data products, and of some frequently encountered technical terms and concepts. We summarize concrete recommendations on how to use TWS data in combination with other hydrological or climatological datasets, and guidance on how to avoid possible pitfalls. Finally, we provide an overview of some of the main applications of GRACE TWS data in the fields of hydrology and climate science. This review is written with the intention of supporting future research and facilitating the use of satellite-based terrestrial water storage datasets in interdisciplinary contexts.

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Humphrey, V., Rodell, M., & Eicker, A. (2023, October 1). Using Satellite-Based Terrestrial Water Storage Data: A Review. Surveys in Geophysics. Springer Science and Business Media B.V. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10712-022-09754-9

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