Comparison of Vertical Surface Deformation Estimates Derived from Space‐based...

Yin, G., B. A. Forman, B. D. Loomis, and S. Luthcke (2020), Comparison of Vertical Surface Deformation Estimates Derived from Space‐based Gravimetry, Ground‐based GPS, and Model‐based Hydrologic Loading over Snow‐dominated Watersheds in the United States, J. Geophys. Res., 125, e2020JB019432, doi:10.1029/2020jb019432.

Spatiotemporal variability in Earth's terrestrial water storage (TWS) causes changes in surface deformation. The potential for using ground‐based Global Positioning System (GPS) vertical displacement observations for estimating TWS is explored through a comparison of vertical displacements derived from space‐based gravimetric retrievals, ground‐based GPS, and model‐based hydrologic estimates. The study presented here focuses on two snow‐dominated basins in the Western United States for the years 2003–2016. Seasonal variations are observed in the vertical displacements derived from all three data sets, and the variation is coherent with the changes in hydrologic loading. Good consistency is observed between any two of the three data sets with gravimetric retrievals and hydrologic model estimates providing the highest level of agreement (i.e., all examined stations with correlation coefficient R > 0.70). Vertical displacements derived from gravimetric retrievals and ground‐based GPS yielded R > 0.70 for more than 89% of the stations. In addition, it is found that both GPS‐derived and space‐based, gravimetry‐derived vertical displacements clearly reflected the impact of climate variation (i.e., heavy precipitation during 2010–2011 winter followed by prolonged drought). Vertical displacements derived from the hydrologic model highlighted the relatively large precipitation convergence phase during late 2010 to early 2011 at some stations but not the prolonged drought that followed. The results indicate that ground‐based GPS observations of vertical displacement have the capability to capture variations in TWS changes, which can be systematically merged in conjunction with Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) into a land surface model to improve TWS estimates in a follow‐up study.

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Energy & Water Cycle Program (EWCP)
Earth Surface & Interior Program (ESI)