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Remote Sens. 2015, 7(11), 14663-14679;

Assimilation of GRACE Terrestrial Water Storage Observations into a Land Surface Model for the Assessment of Regional Flood Potential

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
Department of Earth System Science, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697, USA
Centro de Estudios Avanzados en Zonas Áridas, La Serena Región de Coquimbo, Chile
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Guy J-P. Schumann, Magaly Koch and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 21 July 2015 / Revised: 21 July 2015 / Accepted: 27 October 2015 / Published: 5 November 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing in Flood Monitoring and Management)
PDF [1710 KB, uploaded 6 November 2015]


We evaluate performance of the Catchment Land Surface Model (CLSM) under flood conditions after the assimilation of observations of the terrestrial water storage anomaly (TWSA) from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE). Assimilation offers three key benefits for the viability of GRACE observations to operational applications: (1) near-real time analysis; (2) a downscaling of GRACE’s coarse spatial resolution; and (3) state disaggregation of the vertically-integrated TWSA. We select the 2011 flood event in the Missouri river basin as a case study, and find that assimilation generally made the model wetter in the months preceding flood. We compare model outputs with observations from 14 USGS groundwater wells to assess improvements after assimilation. Finally, we examine disaggregated water storage information to improve the mechanistic understanding of event generation. Validation establishes that assimilation improved the model skill substantially, increasing regional groundwater anomaly correlation from 0.58 to 0.86. For the 2011 flood event in the Missouri river basin, results show that groundwater and snow water equivalent were contributors to pre-event flood potential, providing spatially-distributed early warning information. View Full-Text
Keywords: GRACE; gravity; flood; assimilation GRACE; gravity; flood; assimilation

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Reager, J.T.; Thomas, A.C.; Sproles, E.A.; Rodell, M.; Beaudoing, H.K.; Li, B.; Famiglietti, J.S. Assimilation of GRACE Terrestrial Water Storage Observations into a Land Surface Model for the Assessment of Regional Flood Potential. Remote Sens. 2015, 7, 14663-14679.

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