Journal cover Journal topic
Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/hess-2016-572
© Author(s) 2016. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
21 Nov 2016
Review status
A revision of this discussion paper was accepted for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS) and is expected to appear here in due course.
Estimating Annual Water Storage Variations Using Microwave-based Soil Moisture Retrievals
Wade T. Crow1, Eunjin Han2, Dongryeol Ryu3, Christopher R. Hain4, and Martha C. Anderson1 1USDA Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory, Beltsville MD, USA
2International Research Institute for Climate and Society, Columbia University, NY, USA
3University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
4Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park MD, USA
Abstract. Due to their shallow vertical support, remotely-sensed surface soil moisture retrievals are commonly regarded as being of limited value for water budget applications requiring the characterization of temporal variations in total terrestrial water storage (S). However, advances in our ability to estimate evapotranspiration remotely now allow for the direct evaluation of approaches for quantifying annual variations in S via water budget closure considerations. By applying an annual water budget analysis within a series of medium-scale (2,000–10,000 km2) basins within the United States, we demonstrate that, despite their clear theoretical limitations, surface soil moisture retrievals derived from passive microwave remote sensing contain significant information concerning relative inter-annual variations in S. This suggests the possibility of using (relatively) higher-resolution microwave remote sensing to enhance the spatial resolution of S estimates acquired from gravity remote sensing. However, challenging calibration issues regarding the relationship between S and surface soil moisture must be resolved before the approach can be used for absolute water budget closure.

Citation: Crow, W. T., Han, E., Ryu, D., Hain, C. R., and Anderson, M. C.: Estimating Annual Water Storage Variations Using Microwave-based Soil Moisture Retrievals, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., doi:10.5194/hess-2016-572, in review, 2016.
Wade T. Crow et al.
Interactive discussionStatus: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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RC1: 'Hidden issues', Anonymous Referee #1, 15 Dec 2016 Printer-friendly Version 
AC1: 'Response to Reviewer #1', Wade Crow, 23 Jan 2017 Printer-friendly Version 
 
RC2: 'Review HESSD2017-572', Anonymous Referee #2, 24 Jan 2017 Printer-friendly Version 
Wade T. Crow et al.
Wade T. Crow et al.

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Short summary
Terrestrial water storage is defined as the total volume of water stored within the land surface and sub-surface and is a key variable for tracking long-term variability in the global water cycle. Currently, annual variations in terrestrial water storage can only be measured at extremely coarse spatial resolutions (> 2002 km2) using gravity-based remote sensing. Here we provide evidence that microwave-based remote sensing of soil moisture can be applied to enhance this resolution.
Terrestrial water storage is defined as the total volume of water stored within the land surface...
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