Articles | Volume 11
11 Jun 2007
11 Jun 2007

Global modelling of continental water storage changes – sensitivity to different climate data sets

K. Fiedler and P. Döll

Abstract. Since 2002, the GRACE satellite mission provides estimates of the Earth's dynamic gravity field with unprecedented accuracy. Differences between monthly gravity fields contain a clear hydrological signal due to continental water storage changes. In order to evaluate GRACE results, the state-of-the-art WaterGAP Global Hydrological Model (WGHM) is applied to calculate terrestrial water storage changes on a global scale. WGHM is driven by different climate data sets to analyse especially the influence of different precipitation data on calculated water storage. The data sets used are the CRU TS 2.1 climate data set, the GPCC Full Data Product for precipitation and data from the ECMWF integrated forecast system. A simple approach for precipitation correction is introduced. WGHM results are then compared with GRACE data. The use of different precipitation data sets leads to considerable differences in computed water storage change for a large number of river basins. Comparing model results with GRACE observations shows a good spatial correlation and also a good agreement in phase. However, seasonal variations of water storage as derived from GRACE tend to be significantly larger than those computed by WGHM, regardless of which climate data set is used.