Estimation of total discharge is necessary to understand the hydrological cycle and to manage water resources efficiently. However, the task is problematic in an area where ground observations are limited. The North Korea region is one example. Here, the total discharge was estimated based on the water balance using multiple satellite products. They are the terrestrial water storage changes (TWSC) derived from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), precipitation from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), and evapotranspiration from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS). The satellite-based discharge was compared with land surface model products of the Global Land Data Assimilation System (GLDAS), and a positive relationship between the results was obtained (r
= 0.70–0.86; bias = −9.08–16.99 mm/month; RMSE = 36.90–62.56 mm/month; NSE = 0.01–0.62). Among the four land surface models of GLDAS (CLM, Mosaic, Noah, and VIC), CLM corresponded best with the satellite-based discharge, satellite-based discharge has a tendency to slightly overestimate compared to model-based discharge (CLM, Mosaic, Noah, and VIC) in the dry season. Also, the total discharge data based on the Precipitation-Runoff Modeling System (PRMS) and the in situ discharge for major five river basins in South Korea show comparable seasonality and high correlation with the satellite-based discharge. In spite of the relatively low spatial resolution of GRACE, and loss of information incurred during the process of integrating three different satellite products, the proposed methodology can be a practical tool to estimate the total discharge with reasonable accuracy, especially in a region with scarce hydrologic data.
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