Joint Seminar: Satellite-based quantification of global mass variations and their relation to hydro-meteorological fluxes

The gravity satellite mission GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) provides a new type of data for integrated Earth system research including climate studies, ocean and sea level research, large-scale hydrological modeling or terrestrial and atmospheric water budget studies. Time-variable gravity enables, for the first time, a direct measurement of the amount of water mass that is redistributed at or near the surface of the Earth through the hydrological cycle and by oceanic and atmospheric circulation.

This presentation will start with a brief introduction to the measurement principle of GRACE including a discussion of the potentials (and limitations) of the data in terms of accuracy and spatio-temporal resolution. An overview of GRACE water cycle applications will be concluded by two recent studies carried out at HCU Hamburg, which demonstrate the full range of temporal scales detectable by GRACE. The first one investigates the potential of the relatively short GRACE data record for constraining water storage trends in coupled climate models. The second one links GRACE-derived mass changes to variations in hydro-meteorological fluxes like precipitation and evapotranspiration via the terrestrial water balance. Here we can demonstrate the potential of GRACE to valuate atmospheric reanalysis on different time scales, from long-term trends down to high-frequency (daily) variations.




15:15 h


Bundesstr. 53, room 022/023
Seminar Room 022/023, Ground Floor, Bundesstrasse 53, 20146 Hamburg, Hamburg


Annette Eicker, HafenCity Universit├Ąt Hamburg


Victor Brovkin

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