Articles | Volume 26, issue 14
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-26-3785-2022
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-26-3785-2022
Research article
 | 
19 Jul 2022
Research article |  | 19 Jul 2022

Remotely sensed reservoir water storage dynamics (1984–2015) and the influence of climate variability and management at a global scale

Jiawei Hou, Albert I. J. M. van Dijk, Hylke E. Beck, Luigi J. Renzullo, and Yoshihide Wada

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Cited articles

Avisse, N., Tilmant, A., Müller, M. F., and Zhang, H.: Monitoring small reservoirs' storage with satellite remote sensing in inaccessible areas, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 6445–6459, https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-21-6445-2017, 2017. 
Beck, H. E., van Dijk, A. I. J. M., Levizzani, V., Schellekens, J., Miralles, D. G., Martens, B., and de Roo, A.: MSWEP: 3-hourly 0.25 global gridded precipitation (1979–2015) by merging gauge, satellite, and reanalysis data, Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 21, 589–615, https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-21-589-2017, 2017. 
Beck, H. E., Wood, E. F., McVicar, T. R., Zambrano-Bigiarini, M., Alvarez-Garreton, C., Baez-Villanueva, O. M., Sheffield, J., and Karger, D. N.: Bias correction of global high-resolution precipitation climatologies using streamflow observations from 9372 catchments, J. Climate, 33, 1299–1315, 2020. 
Birkett, C. M., Reynolds, C., Beckley, B., and Doorn, B.: From Research to Operations: The USDA Global Reservoir and Lake Monitor, in: chapter 2 in `Coastal Altimetry', edited by: Vignudelli, S., Kostianoy, A. G., Cipollini, P., and Benveniste, J., Springer Publications, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-12796-0_2, 2010. 
Bonnema, M. and Hossain, F.: Inferring reservoir operating patterns across the Mekong Basin using only space observations, Water Resour. Res., 53, 3791–3810, 2017. 
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Short summary
We used satellite imagery to measure monthly reservoir water volumes for 6695 reservoirs worldwide for 1984–2015. We investigated how changing precipitation, streamflow, evaporation, and human activity affected reservoir water storage. Almost half of the reservoirs showed significant increasing or decreasing trends over the past three decades. These changes are caused, first and foremost, by changes in precipitation rather than by changes in net evaporation or dam release patterns.