Groundwater Depletion in the Mississippi Delta as Observed by the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) Satellite System

Author(s): Hossain, A.

The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), launched in early 2002, is a satellite mission jointly managed by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR). Its goal is to map Earth’s gravity field with high precision, approximately on a monthly basis. Global representations of Earth’s gravity field are produced based on a K-band microwave system, which measures the distance (loosely controlled at about 220 km) between two identical satellites nearly continuously as they revolve in a tandem, near polar orbit, at an initial 485 km altitude. The gravitational effects of changes in atmospheric surface pressure and ocean bottom pressure are removed using numerical model analyses, such that the remaining variability can be attributed primarily to the redistribution of terrestrial water storage, thus provide measurements of column integrated terrestrial water storage (TWS) for the entire globe. Several recent studies clearly demonstrated that GRACE‐derived estimates of variations of total water storage (all of the snow, ice, surface water, soil water and groundwater in a region), when combined with auxiliary hydrological datasets, can provide groundwater storage change estimates of sufficient accuracy to benefit water management. This paper summarizes the recent studies that conducted to investigate the groundwater depletion in the Mississippi Delta using GRACE data. This paper also presents the results obtained from the analysis of last ten years monthly GRACE Level 3 data for the Mississippi Delta areas.

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