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Open AccessArticle

Assessing Terrestrial Water Storage and Flood Potential Using GRACE Data in the Yangtze River Basin, China

by Zhangli Sun 1,2,3,4, Xiufang Zhu 1,2,4,*, Yaozhong Pan 2,3,4 and Jinshui Zhang 1,2,4
State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
Key Laboratory of Environmental Change and Natural Disaster, Ministry of Education, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
State Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Science, Jointly Sponsored by Beijing Normal University and Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100875, China
Institute of Remote Sensing Science and Engineering, Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2017, 9(10), 1011;
Received: 14 August 2017 / Revised: 20 September 2017 / Accepted: 22 September 2017 / Published: 29 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing for Flood Mapping and Monitoring of Flood Dynamics)
Floods have caused tremendous economic, societal and ecological losses in the Yangtze River Basin (YRB) of China. To reduce the impact of these disasters, it is important to understand the variables affecting the hydrological state of the basin. In this study, we used Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite data, flood potential index (FPI), precipitation data (Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission, TRMM 3B43), and other meteorological data to generate monthly terrestrial water storage anomalies (TWSA) and to evaluate flood potential in the YRB. The results indicate that the basin contained increasing amounts of water from 2003 to 2014, with a slight increase of 3.04 mm/year in the TWSA. The TWSA and TRMM data exhibit marked seasonal characteristics with summer peaks and winter dips. Estimates of terrestrial water storage based on GRACE, measured as FPI, are critical for understanding and predicting flooding. The 2010 flood (FPI ~ 0.36) was identified as the most serious disaster during the study period, with discharge and precipitation values 37.95% and 19.44% higher, respectively, than multi-year average values for the same period. FPI can assess reliably hydrological extremes with high spatial and temporal resolution, but currently, it is not suitable for smaller and/or short-term flood events. Thus, we conclude that GRACE data can be effectively used for monitoring and examining large floods in the YRB and elsewhere, thus improving the current knowledge and presenting potentially important political and economic implications. View Full-Text
Keywords: floods; GRACE; FPI; Yangtze River Basin floods; GRACE; FPI; Yangtze River Basin
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MDPI and ACS Style

Sun, Z.; Zhu, X.; Pan, Y.; Zhang, J. Assessing Terrestrial Water Storage and Flood Potential Using GRACE Data in the Yangtze River Basin, China. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 1011.

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