Evaluating the hydrological consistency of satellite based water cycle components

Handle URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10754/618015
Title:
Evaluating the hydrological consistency of satellite based water cycle components
Authors:
Lopez Valencia, Oliver M.; Houborg, Rasmus; McCabe, Matthew ( 0000-0002-1279-5272 )
Abstract:
Advances in multi-satellite based observations of the earth system have provided the capacity to retrieve information across a wide-range of land surface hydrological components and provided an opportunity to characterize terrestrial processes from a completely new perspective. Given the spatial advantage that space-based observations offer, several regional-to-global scale products have been developed, offering insights into the multi-scale behaviour and variability of hydrological states and fluxes. However, one of the key challenges in the use of satellite-based products is characterizing the degree to which they provide realistic and representative estimates of the underlying retrieval: that is, how accurate are the hydrological components derived from satellite observations? The challenge is intrinsically linked to issues of scale, since the availability of high-quality in-situ data is limited, and even where it does exist, is generally not commensurate to the resolution of the satellite observation. Basin-scale studies have shown considerable variability in achieving water budget closure with any degree of accuracy using satellite estimates of the water cycle. In order to assess the suitability of this type of approach for evaluating hydrological observations, it makes sense to first test it over environments with restricted hydrological inputs, before applying it to more hydrological complex basins. Here we explore the concept of hydrological consistency, i.e. the physical considerations that the water budget impose on the hydrologic fluxes and states to be temporally and spatially linked, to evaluate the reproduction of a set of large-scale evaporation (E) products by using a combination of satellite rainfall (P) and Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) observations of storage change, focusing on arid and semi-arid environments, where the hydrological flows can be more realistically described. Our results indicate no persistent hydrological consistency in these environments, suggesting the need for continued efforts in improving satellite observations, particularly for the retrieval of evaporation, and the need to more directly account for anthropogenic influences such as agricultural irrigation into our large scale water cycle studies.
KAUST Department:
Water Desalination & Reuse Research Cntr; Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering (BESE) Division
Citation:
Evaluating the hydrological consistency of satellite based water cycle components 2016:1 Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussions
Journal:
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussions
Issue Date:
15-Jun-2016
DOI:
10.5194/hess-2016-269
Type:
Article
ISSN:
1812-2116
Sponsors:
Research reported in this publication was supported by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).
Additional Links:
http://www.hydrol-earth-syst-sci-discuss.net/hess-2016-269/
Appears in Collections:
Articles

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorLopez Valencia, Oliver M.en
dc.contributor.authorHouborg, Rasmusen
dc.contributor.authorMcCabe, Matthewen
dc.date.accessioned2016-08-07T10:46:35Z-
dc.date.available2016-08-07T10:46:35Z-
dc.date.issued2016-06-15-
dc.identifier.citationEvaluating the hydrological consistency of satellite based water cycle components 2016:1 Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussionsen
dc.identifier.issn1812-2116-
dc.identifier.doi10.5194/hess-2016-269-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10754/618015-
dc.description.abstractAdvances in multi-satellite based observations of the earth system have provided the capacity to retrieve information across a wide-range of land surface hydrological components and provided an opportunity to characterize terrestrial processes from a completely new perspective. Given the spatial advantage that space-based observations offer, several regional-to-global scale products have been developed, offering insights into the multi-scale behaviour and variability of hydrological states and fluxes. However, one of the key challenges in the use of satellite-based products is characterizing the degree to which they provide realistic and representative estimates of the underlying retrieval: that is, how accurate are the hydrological components derived from satellite observations? The challenge is intrinsically linked to issues of scale, since the availability of high-quality in-situ data is limited, and even where it does exist, is generally not commensurate to the resolution of the satellite observation. Basin-scale studies have shown considerable variability in achieving water budget closure with any degree of accuracy using satellite estimates of the water cycle. In order to assess the suitability of this type of approach for evaluating hydrological observations, it makes sense to first test it over environments with restricted hydrological inputs, before applying it to more hydrological complex basins. Here we explore the concept of hydrological consistency, i.e. the physical considerations that the water budget impose on the hydrologic fluxes and states to be temporally and spatially linked, to evaluate the reproduction of a set of large-scale evaporation (E) products by using a combination of satellite rainfall (P) and Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) observations of storage change, focusing on arid and semi-arid environments, where the hydrological flows can be more realistically described. Our results indicate no persistent hydrological consistency in these environments, suggesting the need for continued efforts in improving satellite observations, particularly for the retrieval of evaporation, and the need to more directly account for anthropogenic influences such as agricultural irrigation into our large scale water cycle studies.en
dc.description.sponsorshipResearch reported in this publication was supported by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).en
dc.language.isoenen
dc.relation.urlhttp://www.hydrol-earth-syst-sci-discuss.net/hess-2016-269/en
dc.rightsArchived with thanks to Hydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussions. This work is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.en
dc.titleEvaluating the hydrological consistency of satellite based water cycle componentsen
dc.typeArticleen
dc.contributor.departmentWater Desalination & Reuse Research Cntren
dc.contributor.departmentBiological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering (BESE) Divisionen
dc.identifier.journalHydrology and Earth System Sciences Discussionsen
dc.eprint.versionPublisher's Version/PDFen
dc.contributor.affiliationKing Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST)en
kaust.authorLopez Valencia, Oliver M.en
kaust.authorHouborg, Rasmusen
kaust.authorMcCabe, Matthewen
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