Evaluation of global land-to-ocean fresh water discharge and evapotranspiration...

Seo, K., D. E. Waliser, B. Tian, J. S. Famiglietti, and T. H. Syed (2009), Evaluation of global land-to-ocean fresh water discharge and evapotranspiration using space-based observations, Journal of Hydrology, 373, 508-515, doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2009.05.014.

We estimate global fresh water discharge from land-to-oceans (Q) and evapotranspiration (ET) on monthly time scales using a number of complimentary hydrologic data sets. This estimate is possible due to the new capability of measuring oceanic and land water mass changes from GRACE as well as the space-based measurements of oceanic and land precipitation (Pl) and oceanic evaporation. Monthly time series of Q show peaks in July and January, and those of ET show peaks in March, May and August. Our estimates of Q and ET are correlated with Pl indicating qualitatively that our estimates capture temporal patterns of Q and ET reasonably well. Comparison of our Q with two other previous estimates based on the Global Runoff Data Centre (GRDC) river gauges network shows that our maximum peak in Q occurs about a month later than previous estimates. In addition, we compare our estimation of Q and ET to 20th century simulations from the WCRP CMIP3 multi-model archive assessed in the IPCC 4th Assessment Report. Runoff (R) and ET from AOGCMs tend to only exhibit the annual cycle, but the Q estimated in this study exhibits additional semi-annual variations that exists in Pl as well. In addition, R from the models shows a maximum peak 2 months earlier than the estimated Q, which is due partly to the river discharge time lag that most AOGCMs do not take into account. These results indicate that current AOGCMs exhibit basic shortcomings in simulating Q and ET accurately. The new method developed here can be a useful constraint on these models and can be useful to close budget of global water balance.

PDF of Publication: 
Download from publisher's website.
Research Program: 
Energy & Water Cycle Program (EWCP)
Climate Variability and Change Program
Atmospheric Dynamics and Precipitation Program (ADP)