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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 17 Dec 2019

Submitted as: research article | 17 Dec 2019

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This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

Estimation of hydrological drought recovery based on GRACE water storage deficit

Alka Singh1,2, John T. Reager3, and Ali Behrangi4 Alka Singh et al.
  • 1Universities Space Research Association, Columbia, MD, 21046, USA
  • 2NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, 20771, USA
  • 3Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, 91109, USA
  • 4Department of hydrology and atmospheric sciences, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, 85721 USA

Abstract. Drought is a natural climate extreme phenomenon that presents great challenges in forecasting and monitoring for water management purposes. Previous studies have examined the use of Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) terrestrial water storage anomalies to measure the amount of water missing from a drought-affected region, and other studies have attempted statistical approaches to drought recovery forecasting based on joint probabilities of precipitation and soil moisture. The goal of this study is to combine GRACE data with historical precipitation observations to quantify the amount of precipitation required to achieve normal storage conditions in order to estimate a likely drought recovery time. First, linear relationships between terrestrial water storage anomaly (TWSA) and cumulative precipitation anomaly are established across a range of conditions. Then, historical precipitation data are statistically modeled to develop simplistic precipitation forecast skill. Three different precipitation scenarios are simulated by using a standard deviation in climatology. Precipitation scenarios are convolved with precipitation deficit estimates to calculate best-estimate of a drought recovery period. The results show that in the regions of strong seasonal amplitude (like monsoon belt) drought continues even with the above-normal precipitation until its wet season. Historical GRACE-observed drought recovery period is used to validate the approach. Estimated drought for an example month demonstrated 80% similar recovery period as observed by the GRACE.

Alka Singh et al.
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Alka Singh et al.
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Short summary
The study demonstrates the utility of GRACE terrestrial water storage anomalies (TWSA) in obtaining statistics of hydrologic drought, i.e., its recovery period and required precipitation to recover with sensitivity test to different precipitation scenarios. The findings of this study are (1) the GRACE based drought index is valid to estimate the required precipitation for drought recovery and (2) the period of drought recovery depends on the intensity of the precipitation.
The study demonstrates the utility of GRACE terrestrial water storage anomalies (TWSA) in...