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Direct Water Balance

  The global continental water balance
from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) and
high-resolution consistent geodetic-hydrometeorological data analysis.


GRACE satellite gravimetry provides a direct measure of water storage changes over continents. Thus, this novel technique enables—for the first time—to close the continental water balance on large scales.
Basin scale precipitation P and evapotranspiration ETa are usually characterized by high uncertainties. The difference P–ETa, however, can be derived from vertical integrated atmospheric moisture flux divergences (VIMFD). The combination of VIMFD and GRACE-derived water storage changes allows the quantification of discharge R for ungauged basins and therefore offers a complete new opportunity in large scale hydrology.


Supported by GRACE, the synthesis of both hydrological and hydrometeorological approaches should allow to close the continental water balance and predict discharge of ungauged basins with a minimum of model assumptions.
This approach is realized by application of regional atmospheric models which are assumed to have a higher accuracy for VIMFD calculations than results from global atmospheric models.


Further information:
DFG priority program SPP1257
"Mass transport and mass distribution in the system Earth"


Cooperation Partners:
Institute of Geodesy, Stuttgart University
Institute of Hydraulic Engineering, Stuttgart University


Contact: Harald Kunstmann, Benjamin Fersch