Implications of GRACE Satellite Gravity Measurements for Diverse Hydrological Applications

dc.contributor.authorYirdaw-Zeleke, Sitotaw
dc.contributor.examiningcommitteeWoodbury, Allan (Civil Engineering) Rasmussen, Peter (Civil Engineering) Hanesiak, John (Environment & Geography) Hayashi, Masaki (Department of Geoscience, University of Calgary)en
dc.contributor.supervisorSnelgrove, Kenneth (Civil Engineering)en Engineeringen_US of Philosophy (Ph.D.)en_US
dc.description.abstractSoil moisture plays a major role in the hydrologic water balance and is the basis for most hydrological models. It influences the partitioning of energy and moisture inputs at the land surface. Because of its importance, it has been used as a key variable for many hydrological studies such as flood forecasting, drought studies and the determination of groundwater recharge. Therefore, spatially distributed soil moisture with reasonable temporal resolution is considered a valuable source of information for hydrological model parameterization and validation. Unfortunately, soil moisture is difficult to measure and remains essentially unmeasured over spatial and temporal scales needed for a number of hydrological model applications. In 2002, the Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite platform was launched to measure, among other things, the gravitational field of the earth. Over its life span, these orbiting satellites have produced time series of mass changes of the earth-atmosphere system. The subsequent outcome of this, after integration over a number of years, is a time series of highly refined images of the earth's mass distribution. In addition to quantifying the static distribution of mass, the month-to-month variation in the earth's gravitational field are indicative of the integrated value of the subsurface total water storage for specific catchments. Utilization of these natural changes in the earth's gravitational field entails the transformation of the derived GRACE geopotential spherical harmonic coefficients into spatially varying time series estimates of total water storage. These remotely sensed basin total water storage estimates can be routinely validated against independent estimates of total water storage from an atmospheric-based water balance approach or from well calibrated macroscale hydrologic models. The hydrological relevance and implications of remotely estimated GRACE total water storage over poorly gauged, wetland-dominated watershed as well as over a deltaic region underlain by a thick sand aquifer in Western Canada are the focus of this thesis. The domain of the first case study was the Mackenzie River Basin wherein the GRACE total water storage estimates were successfully inter-compared and validated with the atmospheric based water balance. These were then used to assess the WATCLASS hydrological model estimates of total water storage. The outcome of this inter-comparison revealed the potential application of the GRACE-based approach for the closure of the hydrological water balance of the Mackenzie River Basin as well as a dependable source of data for the calibration of traditional hydrological models. The Mackenzie River Basin result led to a second case study where the GRACE-based total water storage was validated using storage estimated from the atmospheric-based water balance P-E computations in conjunction with the measured streamflow records for the Saskatchewan River Basin at its Grand Rapids outlet in Manitoba. The fallout from this comparison was then applied to the characterization of the Prairie-wide 2002/2003 drought enabling the development of a new drought index now known as the Total Storage Deficit Index (TSDI). This study demonstrated the potential application of the GRACE-based technique as a tool for drought characterization in the Canadian Prairies. Finally, the hydroinformatic approach based on the artificial neural network (ANN) enabled the downscaling of the groundwater component from the total water storage estimate from the remote sensing satellite, GRACE. This was subsequently explored as an alternate source of calibration and validation for a hydrological modeling application over the Assiniboine Delta Aquifer in Manitoba. Interestingly, a high correlation exists between the simulated groundwater storage from the coupled hydrological model, CLM-PF and the downscaled groundwater time series storage from the remote sensing satellite GRACE over this 4,000 km2 deltaic basin in Canada.en
dc.description.noteMay 2010en
dc.format.extent13321720 bytes
dc.identifier.citationYirdaw, S. Z., K. R. Snelgrove and C. O. Agboma, 2008: GRACE satellite observations of terrestrial moisture changes for drought characterization in the Canadian Prairie. J. Hydrology, 356 (1-2): 84-92.en
dc.identifier.citationYirdaw, S.Z., K. R. Snelgrove, F. R. Seglenieks, C. O. Agboma and E. D. Soulis, 2009: Assessment of the WATCLASS hydrological model result of the Mackenzie River Basin using the GRACE satellite total water storage measurement. Hydrological Processes, 23:23, 3391-3400.en
dc.rightsopen accessen_US
dc.subjectGRACE Satelliteen
dc.subjectTotal Water Storageen
dc.subjectMackenzie River Basinen
dc.subjectCanadian Prairieen
dc.subjectWater Balanceen
dc.subjectCold Regionen
dc.subjectCoupled Hydrological Modelen
dc.titleImplications of GRACE Satellite Gravity Measurements for Diverse Hydrological Applicationsen
dc.typedoctoral thesisen_US
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