29 Sep '14, 4pm

Goodbye Groundwater: GPS and Satellites Reveal an Oft-Unseen Aspect of Drought

Goodbye Groundwater: GPS and Satellites Reveal an Oft-Unseen Aspect of Drought

Drought-induced depletion of groundwater is no longer an issue that’s out of sight, out of mind. Research by scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, published this week in Science , describes a GPS technique used to measure drought-induced uplift of land in the western United States. The uplift measurements were used, in turn, to calculate the deficit in surface and near-surface water for the area, which they estimated for March 2014 to be 240 billion tons. That’s equivalent to a 4-inch-thick layer (10 centimeters) of water over the region, or the current annual mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet . GPS is not the only way to measure land displacement caused by the loss of ground and surface water. Scientists have long used the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites to estimate groundwater depletion around the planet, as noted by Marcia ...

Full article: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/blogs/earthmatters/2014/...

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