Estimating annual water storage variations in medium-scale (2000–10 000 km2) basins using microwave-based soil moisture retrievals
- 1USDA-ARS Hydrology and Remote Sensing Laboratory, Beltsville, MD, USA
- 2International Research Institute for Climate and Society, Columbia University, NY, USA
- 3Melbourne School of Engineering, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
- 4NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Earth Science Branch, Huntsville, AL, USA
Abstract. Due to their shallow vertical support, remotely sensed surface soil moisture retrievals are commonly regarded as being of limited value for water budget applications requiring the characterization of temporal variations in total terrestrial water storage (dS ∕ dt). However, advances in our ability to estimate evapotranspiration remotely now allow for the direct evaluation of approaches for quantifying dS ∕ dt via water budget closure considerations. By applying an annual water budget analysis within a series of medium-scale (2000–10 000 km2) basins within the United States, we demonstrate that, despite their clear theoretical limitations, surface soil moisture retrievals derived from passive microwave remote sensing contain statistically significant information concerning dS ∕ dt. This suggests the possibility of using (relatively) higher-resolution microwave remote sensing products to enhance the spatial resolution of dS ∕ dt estimates acquired from gravity remote sensing.