Articles | Volume 23, issue 2
Research article
18 Feb 2019
Research article |  | 18 Feb 2019

Estimating irrigation water use over the contiguous United States by combining satellite and reanalysis soil moisture data

Felix Zaussinger, Wouter Dorigo, Alexander Gruber, Angelica Tarpanelli, Paolo Filippucci, and Luca Brocca

Data sets

SMAP L2 Radiometer Half-Orbit 36\,km EASE-Grid Soil Moisture, Version 5 P. E. O'Neill, S. Chan, E. G. Njoku, T. Jackson, and R. Bindlish

Short summary
About 70 % of global freshwater is consumed by irrigation. Yet, policy-relevant estimates of irrigation water use (IWU) are virtually lacking at regional to global scales. To bridge this gap, we develop a method for quantifying IWU from a combination of state-of-the-art remotely sensed and modeled soil moisture products and apply it over the United States for the period 2013–2016. Overall, our estimates agree well with reference data on irrigated area and irrigation water withdrawals.