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Landwater variation in four major river basins of the Indochina peninsula as revealed by GRACE

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We estimated mass variations in four major river basins—the Mekong, Irrawaddy, Salween and Chao Phraya river basins—of the Indochina Peninsula using the newly released GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) monthly gravity field solutions of UTCSR RL02 (University of Texas at Austin, Center for Space Research Release 02), JPL RL02 (Jet Propulsion Laboratory Release 02) and GFZ RL03 (GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam Release 03). The estimated variations were compared with that calculated from a numerical model. The results show that there is a good agreement between the GRACE estimations and the model calculation for the Mekong and Irrawaddy basins, while the aggreement for the Salween and Chao Phraya basins is poor, mainly due to the spatial scale of the areas concerned. The comparison over the combined area of the four river basins shows fairly good agreement, although there are small quantitative discrepancies. The amplitudes of the annual signals of the GRACE solutions are 0.9- to 1.4-fold larger than that of the hydrological model, and the phases are delayed about 1 month compared with the model signal. The phase differences are probably due to improper treatments of the groundwater storage process in the hydrological model, suggesting that the GRACE data possibly provide constraints to the model parameters.


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Correspondence to Keiko Yamamoto.

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Key words

  • satellite gravity
  • gravity variations
  • water storage variations
  • precise gravity measurements