Estimation of component contributions to total terrestrial water storage change in the Yangtze river basin

Nengfang Chao, Taoyong Jin, Zuansi Cai, Gang Chen, Xianglin Liu, Zhengtao Wang, Pat J.F. Yeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Terrestrial water storage (TWS) is a key variable in global and regional hydrological cycles. In this study, the TWS changes in the Yangtze River Basin (YRB) were derived using the Lagrange multiplier method (LMM) from Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) data. To assess TWS changes from LMM, different GRACE solutions, different hydrological models, and in situ data were used for validation. Results show that TWS changes from LMM in YRB has the best performance with the correlation coefficients of 0.80 and root mean square error of 1.48 cm in comparison with in situ data. The trend of TWS changes over the YRB increased by 10.39 ± 1.27 Gt yr−1 during the 2003–2015 period. Moreover, TWS change is disintegrated into the individual contributions of hydrological components (i.e., glaciers, surface water, soil moisture, and groundwater) from satellite data, hydrologic models, and in situ data. The estimated changes in individual TWS components in the YRB show that (1) the contribution of glaciers, surface water, soil moisture, and groundwater to total TWS changes is 15%, 12%, 25% and 48%, respectively; (2) Geladandong glacier melt from CryoSat-2/ICESat data has a critical effect on TWS changes with a correlation coefficients of −0.51; (3) the Three Gorges Reservoir Impoundment has a minimal effect on surface water changes (mainly lake water storage), but it has a substantial effect on groundwater storage (GWS), (4) the Poyang and Doting Lake water storage changes are mainly caused by climate change, (5) soil moisture storage change is mainly influenced by surface water, (6) human-induced GWS changes accounted for approximately half of the total GWS. The results of this study can provide valuable information for decision-making in water resources management.

Original languageEnglish
Article number125661
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • CryoSat-2/ICESat
  • Groundwater
  • Terrestrial water storage change
  • Yangtze River basin

Cite this