Related Research Areas
Water & Energy Cycles

Water storage changes in Earth’s land, ocean, atmosphere and ice reservoirs vary on time scales ranging from instantaneous to geologic. As such they represent a fundamental and interactive component of the climate system. Until recently, the lack of a consistent, single monitoring framework has hampered efforts to track shorter-term, human time scale variations (e.g. monthly, seasonal-interannual and decadal-scale) of these storage changes, which are essential for enhanced weather and climate prediction, and for monitoring global change impacts on the hydrologic cycle. The recent launch of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite mission in 2002 now offers a tremendous opportunity to monitor water storage changes in Earth’s major reservoirs: it is now possible to perform comprehensive assessment and analysis of mass movements in the global water cycle using one observing system. Here we propose to continue and expand our first NEWS project which used GRACE observations of time-variable gravity to provide a first global, comprehensive assessment of monthly water storage changes in Earth’s ocean, ice, and land reservoirs. Expansions of our previous work will include: production and comparison of GRACE-based estimates of oceanic evaporation and terrestrial evapotranspiration; understanding the occurrence and persistence of terrestrial water storage anomalies during extreme hydrological events; using sea level rise estimates as a constraint on global water cycle variability; participation in the NEWS Water Cycle Integration and Assessment project; and collaboration with the several members of the NEWS team on water balance and related studies.. Because or work will characterize storage changes in Earth’s major water reservoirs, it should provide an important constraint on NEWS team flux estimates between reservoirs, as well as on other NEWS team terrestrial storage estimates (e.g. snow, surface water, soil moisture and/or groundwater).

Project PI: James Famiglietti/University of California, Irvine

University of California, Irvine 240K Rowland Hall Mail Code: 3100 Irvine, CA 92697

Phone: (949) 824-9434

Fax: (949) 824-3874



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Started: Aug 10, 2010

Last Activity: Dec 16, 2010


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