23rd Conference on Hydrology


(Invited Speaker) Assimilation of GRACE terrestrial water storage data into a land surface model

Rolf H. Reichle, NASA, Greenbelt, MD; and B. F. Zaitchik and M. Rodell

The NASA Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) system of satellites provides observations of large-scale, monthly terrestrial water storage (TWS) changes. In this presentation we describe a land data assimilation system that ingests GRACE observations and show that the assimilation improves estimates of water storage and fluxes, as evaluated against independent measurements. The ensemble-based land data assimilation system uses a Kalman smoother approach along with the NASA Catchment Land Surface Model (CLSM).

We assimilated GRACE-derived TWS anomalies for each of the four major sub-basins of the Mississippi into the Catchment Land Surface Model (CLSM). Compared with the open-loop (no assimilation) CLSM simulation, assimilation estimates of groundwater variability exhibited enhanced skill with respect to measured groundwater. Assimilation also significantly increased the correlation between simulated TWS and gauged river flow for all four sub-basins and for the Mississippi River basin itself. In addition, model performance was evaluated for watersheds smaller than the scale of GRACE observations. In the majority of cases, GRACE assimilation led to increased correlation between TWS estimates and gauged river flow, indicating that data assimilation has considerable potential to downscale GRACE data for hydrological applications. We will also describe how the output from the GRACE land data assimilation system is now being prepared for use in the North American Drought Monitor.

Session 5A, Advances in Data Assimilation Techniques and Their Applications to Land Surface State and Parameter Estimation in Hydrology—I
Wednesday, 14 January 2009, 8:30 AM-10:00 AM, Room 127B

Next paper

Browse or search entire meeting

AMS Home Page