Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) Storage Change Characteristics (2003–2016) over Major Surface Basins and Principal Aquifers in the Conterminous United States
In this research, we characterized the changes in the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) monthly total water storage anomaly (TWSA) in 18 surface basins and 12 principal aquifers in the conterminous United States during 2003–2016. Regions with high variability in storage were identified. Ten basins and four aquifers showed significant changes in storage. Eight surface basins and eight aquifers were found to show decadal stability in storage. A pixel-based analysis of storage showed that the New England basin and North Atlantic Coastal Plain aquifer showed the largest area under positive storage change. By contrast, the Lower Colorado and California basins showed the largest area under negative change. This study found that historically wetter regions (with more storage) are becoming wetter, and drier regions (with less storage) are becoming drier. Fourier analysis of the GRACE data showed that while all basins exhibited prominent annual periodicities, significant sub-annual and multi-annual cycles also exist in some basins. The storage turnover period was estimated to range between 6 and 12 months. The primary explanatory variable (PEV) of TWSA was identified for each region. This study provides new insights on several aspects of basin or aquifer storage that are important for understanding basin and aquifer hydrology.
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