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Assessment of Water Storage Changes Using GRACE and GLDAS

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Water crisis is one of the main global risks that has different impacts on the society. This work uses available data and tools to track water storage changes in Iran, where lack of observations limits hydroclimatological studies and thus causes disasters. Data from Global Land Data Assimilation System (GLDAS) and Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) are combined to analyze water storage changes (LWE) in Iran. GRACE signals indicate a large reduction of the water storage in North of Iran along the coast of the Caspian Sea (the largest global inland water body), where the water level has been oscillating significantly. In addition, results show the largest reduction of the water storage that occurred in the karstic and alluvial aquifers in Zagros, where groundwater is overused and many dams are constructed across the rivers. In addition to anthropogenic forcing, climate change has short- and long-term impact on the water storage. The highest correlation between LWE and climatological variables including temperature and precipitation is at 3- and 2-month lags, respectively. Natural and anthropogenic forcing caused the maximum rate of LWE reduction (maximum average reduction) in Kermanshah province, where a sequence of earthquakes occurred (in 2017, 2018, and 2019). Results highlight the main role of water storage monitoring in management plans and decision-making processes to conserve natural resources and reduce hazards.

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The authors would like to thank NASA that makes their datasets and documents publicly available. The data used in this study were acquired as part of the mission of NASA’s Earth Science Division and archived and distributed by the Goddard Earth Sciences (GES) Data and Information Services Center (DISC). GRACE Tellus is supported by NASA’s ‘Making Earth System Data Records for Use in Research Environments’ (MEASURES) Program.

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Correspondence to Sanaz Moghim.

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Moghim, S. Assessment of Water Storage Changes Using GRACE and GLDAS. Water Resour Manage 34, 685–697 (2020).

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  • Terrestrial water storage
  • Climate changes
  • Anthropogenic forcing