Improved water balance component estimates through joint assimilation of GRACE water storage and SMOS soil moisture retrievals

Siyuan Tian, Paul Tregoning, Luigi John Renzullo, Albert Ide Jan Martijn van Dijk, Jeffrey P. Walker, Valentijn R. N. Pauwels, Sébastien Allgeyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

107 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The accuracy of global water balance estimates is limited by the lack of observations at large scale and the uncertainties of model simulations. Global retrievals of terrestrial water storage (TWS) change and soil moisture (SM) from satellites provide an opportunity to improve model estimates through data assimilation. However, combining these two data sets is challenging due to the disparity in temporal and spatial resolution at both vertical and horizontal scale. For the first time, TWS observations from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) and near-surface SM observations from the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) were jointly assimilated into a water balance model using the Ensemble Kalman Smoother from January 2010 to December 2013 for the Australian continent. The performance of joint assimilation was assessed against open-loop model simulations and the assimilation of either GRACE TWS anomalies or SMOS SM alone. The SMOS-only assimilation improved SM estimates but reduced the accuracy of groundwater and TWS estimates. The GRACE-only assimilation improved groundwater estimates but did not always produce accurate estimates of SM. The joint assimilation typically led to more accurate water storage profile estimates with improved surface SM, root-zone SM, and groundwater estimates against in situ observations. The assimilation successfully downscaled GRACE-derived integrated water storage horizontally and vertically into individual water stores at the same spatial scale as the model and SMOS, and partitioned monthly averaged TWS into daily estimates. These results demonstrate that satellite TWS and SM measurements can be jointly assimilated to produce improved water balance component estimates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1820-1840
Number of pages21
JournalWater Resources Research
Volume53
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017

Keywords

  • data assimilation
  • GRACE
  • SMOS
  • water balance

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