RECOG RL01: correcting GRACE total water storage estimates for global lakes/reservoirs and earthquakes

Deggim, Simon; Eicker, Annette; Schawohl, Lennart; Gerdener, Helena; Schulze, Kerstin; Engels, Olga; Kusche, Jürgen; Saraswati, Anita T.; van Dam, Tonie; Ellenbeck, Laura; Dettmering, Denise; Schwatke, Christian; Mayr, Stefan; Klein, Igor; Longuevergne, Laurent

Observations of changes in terrestrial water storage (TWS) obtained from the satellite mission GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) have frequently been used for water cycle studies and for the improvement of hydrological models by means of calibration and data assimilation. However, due to a low spatial resolution of the gravity field models, spatially localized water storage changes, such as those occurring in lakes and reservoirs, cannot properly be represented in the GRACE estimates. As surface storage changes can represent a large part of total water storage, this leads to leakage effects and results in surface water signals becoming erroneously assimilated into other water storage compartments of neighbouring model grid cells. As a consequence, a simple mass balance at grid/regional scale is not sufficient to deconvolve the impact of surface water on TWS. Furthermore, non-hydrology-related phenomena contained in the GRACE time series, such as the mass redistribution caused by major earthquakes, hamper the use of GRACE for hydrological studies in affected regions.

In this paper, we present the first release (RL01) of the global correction product RECOG (REgional COrrections for GRACE), which accounts for both the surface water (lakes and reservoirs, RECOG-LR) and earthquake effects (RECOG-EQ). RECOG-LR is computed from forward-modelling surface water volume estimates derived from satellite altimetry and (optical) remote sensing and allows both a removal of these signals from GRACE and a relocation of the mass change to its origin within the outline of the lakes/reservoirs. The earthquake correction, RECOG-EQ, includes both the co-seismic and post-seismic signals of two major earthquakes with magnitudes above inline-formulaMw9.

We discuss that applying the correction dataset (1) reduces the GRACE signal variability by up to 75 % around major lakes and explains a large part of GRACE seasonal variations and trends, (2) avoids the introduction of spurious trends caused by leakage signals of nearby lakes when calibrating/assimilating hydrological models with GRACE, and (3) enables a clearer detection of hydrological droughts in areas affected by earthquakes. A first validation of the corrected GRACE time series using GPS-derived vertical station displacements shows a consistent improvement of the fit between GRACE and GNSS afterpage2228 applying the correction. Data are made available on an open-access basis via the Pangaea database (RECOG-LR: Deggim et al., 2020a,; RECOG-EQ: Gerdener et al., 2020b,



Deggim, Simon / Eicker, Annette / Schawohl, Lennart / et al: RECOG RL01: correcting GRACE total water storage estimates for global lakes/reservoirs and earthquakes. 2021. Copernicus Publications.


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