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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 16, issue 2 | Copyright
Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 16, 469-482, 2016
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-16-469-2016
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 17 Feb 2016

Research article | 17 Feb 2016

Variations in water storage in China over recent decades from GRACE observations and GLDAS

X. Mo, J. J. Wu, Q. Wang, and H. Zhou X. Mo et al.
  • Academy of Disaster Reduction and Emergency Management, MOCA/MOE, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China

Abstract. We applied Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) Tellus products in combination with Global Land Data Assimilation System (GLDAS) simulations and data from reports, to analyze variations in terrestrial water storage (TWS) in China as a whole and eight of its basins from 2003 to 2013. Amplitudes of TWS were well restored after scaling, and showed good correlations with those estimated from models at the basin scale. TWS generally followed variations in annual precipitation; it decreased linearly in the Huai River basin (−0.56cm yr−1) and increased with fluctuations in the Changjiang River basin (0.35cm yr−1), Zhujiang basin (0.55cm yr−1) and southeast rivers basin (0.70cm yr−1). In the Hai River basin and Yellow River basin, groundwater exploitation may have altered TWS's response to climate, and TWS kept decreasing until 2012. Changes in soil moisture storage contributed over 50% of variance in TWS in most basins. Precipitation and runoff showed a large impact on TWS, with more explained TWS in the south than in the north. North China and southwest rivers region exhibited long-term TWS depletions. TWS has increased significantly over recent decades in the middle and lower reaches of Changjiang River, southeastern coastal areas, as well as the Hoh Xil, and the headstream region of the Yellow River in the Tibetan Plateau. The findings in this study could be helpful to climate change impact research and disaster mitigation planning.

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GRACE provided a new perspective on the anomaly monitoring of water resources. In 2003–2013, TWS in China generally followed variations in annual precipitation; it decreased in northern basins and increased in the south. In the North China Plain, human activities might have interfered with TWS's response to climate; it kept decreasing until 2012. With grid-scaled TWS, small regions with significant increasing trends were also identified in Hoh Xil and the headstream region of the Yellow River.
GRACE provided a new perspective on the anomaly monitoring of water resources. In 2003–2013, TWS...
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