Hydrology and Land Surface Studies
Closing the terrestrial water budget from satellite remote sensing
Article first published online: 3 APR 2009
Copyright 2009 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 36, Issue 7, April 2009
How to Cite
2009), Closing the terrestrial water budget from satellite remote sensing, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L07403, doi:10.1029/2009GL037338., , , , and (
- Issue published online: 3 APR 2009
- Article first published online: 3 APR 2009
- Manuscript Accepted: 10 MAR 2009
- Manuscript Revised: 27 FEB 2009
- Manuscript Received: 21 JAN 2009
- remote sensing;
- water budgets;
 The increasing availability of remote sensing products for all components of the terrestrial water cycle makes it now possible to evaluate the potential of water balance closure purely from remote sensing sources. We take precipitation (P) from the TMPA and CMORPH products, a Penman-Monteith based evapotranspiration (E) estimate derived from NASA Aqua satellite data and terrestrial water storage change (ΔS) from the GRACE satellite. Their combined ability to close the water budget is evaluated over the Mississippi River basin for 2003–5 by estimating streamflow (Q) as a residual of the water budget and comparing to streamflow measurements. We find that Q is greatly overestimated due mainly to the high bias in P, especially in the summer. Removal of systematic biases in P reduces the error significantly. However, uncertainties in the individual budget components due to simplifications in process algorithms and input data error are generally larger than the measured streamflow.