2005 drought event in the Amazon River basin as measured by GRACE and estimated by climate models

J. L. Chen, C. R. Wilson, B. D. Tapley, Z. L. Yang, G. Y. Niu

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Abstract

[1] Satellite gravity measurements from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) provide new quantitative measures of the 2005 extreme drought event in the Amazon river basin, regarded as the worst in over a century. GRACE measures a significant decrease in terrestrial water storage (TWS) in the central Amazon basin in the summer of 2005, relative to the average of the 5 other summer periods in the GRACE era. In contrast, data-assimilating climate and land surface models significantly underestimate the drought intensity. GRACE measurements are consistent with accumulated precipitation data from satellite remote sensing and are also supported by in situ water-level data from river gauge stations. This study demonstrates the unique potential of satellite gravity measurements in monitoring large-scale severe drought and flooding events and in evaluating advanced climate and land surface models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)B05404
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Volume114
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2009

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

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