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Tracking the Atmospheric–Terrestrial Water Cycle over the Tibetan Plateau Based on ERA5 and GRACE

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  • 1 a State Key Laboratory of Remote Sensing Science, Aerospace Information Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China
  • | 2 b National Space Science Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
  • | 3 c Faculty of Geosciences and Environmental Engineering, Southwest Jiaotong University, Chengdu, China
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Abstract

In this study, the net water flux (precipitation minus evaporation) over the Tibetan Plateau (TP) and its 12 drainage basins is estimated using ERA5. The terrestrial branch of the water cycle is investigated using the total water storage anomalies (TWSAs) derived from GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) data and daily streamflow records collected in Zhimenda and Tangnaihai (two hydrological stations located in the upper Yangtze River Basin and upper Yellow River Basin). This work provides a preliminary assessment of discrepancies between model-derived and space-based observations in the atmospheric–terrestrial water cycle over the TP and its drainage basins. The results show that the net water fluxes occurring over the TP and the scale of its drainage basins are closely tied to local dynamics and physical processes and to large-scale circulation and atmospheric water vapor. ERA5 maintains the atmospheric water balance over the TP. ERA5-derived net water flux anomalies constitute a major component of the water cycle and correspond to GRACE-derived TWSAs. The water budget–based approach with the ERA5 and ITSG-Grace2018 datasets constrains the atmospheric–terrestrial water cycle over the TP and its drainage basins. Both the ERA5- and GRACE-derived estimates contain consistent long- and short-term variations over the TP. Discrepancies are evident at the drainage basin, while the ratio of signal to noise in both the ERA5 and GRACE datasets might cause discrepancies between estimates over relatively small or arid basins. Nevertheless, the observed good correspondence between ERA5- and GRACE-derived atmospheric–terrestrial water cycles over the TP highlights the potential value of the rational application of water resource information.

© 2021 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Yonghui Lei, yonghui.lei@hotmail.com

Abstract

In this study, the net water flux (precipitation minus evaporation) over the Tibetan Plateau (TP) and its 12 drainage basins is estimated using ERA5. The terrestrial branch of the water cycle is investigated using the total water storage anomalies (TWSAs) derived from GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) data and daily streamflow records collected in Zhimenda and Tangnaihai (two hydrological stations located in the upper Yangtze River Basin and upper Yellow River Basin). This work provides a preliminary assessment of discrepancies between model-derived and space-based observations in the atmospheric–terrestrial water cycle over the TP and its drainage basins. The results show that the net water fluxes occurring over the TP and the scale of its drainage basins are closely tied to local dynamics and physical processes and to large-scale circulation and atmospheric water vapor. ERA5 maintains the atmospheric water balance over the TP. ERA5-derived net water flux anomalies constitute a major component of the water cycle and correspond to GRACE-derived TWSAs. The water budget–based approach with the ERA5 and ITSG-Grace2018 datasets constrains the atmospheric–terrestrial water cycle over the TP and its drainage basins. Both the ERA5- and GRACE-derived estimates contain consistent long- and short-term variations over the TP. Discrepancies are evident at the drainage basin, while the ratio of signal to noise in both the ERA5 and GRACE datasets might cause discrepancies between estimates over relatively small or arid basins. Nevertheless, the observed good correspondence between ERA5- and GRACE-derived atmospheric–terrestrial water cycles over the TP highlights the potential value of the rational application of water resource information.

© 2021 American Meteorological Society. For information regarding reuse of this content and general copyright information, consult the AMS Copyright Policy (www.ametsoc.org/PUBSReuseLicenses).

Corresponding author: Yonghui Lei, yonghui.lei@hotmail.com
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