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The Global Water Cycle Budget: A Chronological Review

Abstract

Like civilization and technology, our understanding of the global water cycle has been continuously evolving, and we have adapted our quantification methods to better exploit new technological resources. The accurate quantification of global water fluxes and storages is crucial in studying the global water cycle. These fluxes and storages physically interact with each other, are related through the water budget, and are constrained by it. First attempts to quantify them date back to the early 1900s, and during the past few decades, they have received an increasing research interest, which is reflected in the vast amount of data sources available nowadays. However, these data have not been comprehensive enough due to the high spatiotemporal variability of the global water cycle. Herein, we provide a comprehensive review of the chronological evolution of global water cycle quantification, the distinct data sources and methods used, and a critical assessment of their contribution to improving the spatiotemporal monitoring of the global water cycle. The chronology of global water cycle components shows that the uncertainty of flux estimates over oceans remains higher than that over land. Comparing the standard deviation and the interquartile range of the estimates from the 2000s onward with those from all the estimates (1905-2019), we can affirm that statistical variability has diminished in recent years. Moreover, the variability of ocean precipitation and evaporation estimates from the 2000 onward was reduced by more than \(70\%\) compared with earlier studies. These findings advocate that the consistency of global water cycle quantification has been improved.

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Abbreviations

CHIRPS:

Climate Hazards Group Infrared Precipitation with Station Data

CLM3:

Community Land Model version 3

CMORPH:

Climate Prediction Center Morphing Method

CPC:

Climate Prediction Center

CRU TS:

University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit Time-Series

CSR:

Center for Space Research at University of Texas

CSU:

Colorado State University

DMSP:

Defense Meteorological Satellite Program

ECMWF:

European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts

ERA:

European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts Re-Analysis

GEWEX:

Global Energy and Water Exchanges

GFZ:

Deutschen GeoForschungsZentrum

GHP:

Global Energy and Water Exchanges Hydrometeorology Panel

GLDAS:

Global Land Data Assimilation System

GLEAM:

Global Land Evaporation Amsterdam Model

GPCC:

Global Precipitation Climatology Centre

GPCP:

Global Precipitation Climatology Project

GPM:

Global Precipitation Measurement

GRACE:

Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment

GRDC:

Global Runoff Data Centre

GRGS:

Groupe de Recherche de Géodésie Spatiale

GWAVA:

Global Water Availability Assessment

H08:

Hanasaki 2008

HTESSEL:

Land Surface Hydrology Tiled European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts Scheme for Surface Exchanges Over Land

JPL:

Jet Propulsion Laboratories

JULES:

Joint UK Land Environment Simulator

LPJmL:

Lund-Potsdam-Jena Managed Land

MacPDM:

Macro-scale Probability-Distributed Moisture

MATSIRO:

Minimal Advanced Treatments of Surface Interaction and Runoff

MERRA:

Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications

MPI-HM:

Max Planck Institute - Hydrology Model

MOD16:

Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer Global Evapotranspiration Project

MODIS:

Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer

NRL:

Naval Research Laboratory

NTSG:

Numerical Terradynamic Simulation Group

Orchidee:

Organising Carbon and Hydrology in Dynamic Ecosystems

PGF:

Princeton Global Forcing

PREC/L:

Precipitation Reconstruction Over Land

SRB-CFSR-SEBS:

Surface Radiation Budget - Climate Forecast System Reanalysis - Surface Energy Balance System

SRB-CFSR-PM:

Surface Radiation Budget - Climate Forecast System Reanalysis - Penman-Monteith

SRB-CFSR-PT:

Surface Radiation Budget - Climate Forecast System Reanalysis - Priestly-Taylor

SRB-PGF-PM:

Surface Radiation Budget - Princeton Global Forcing - Penman-Monteith

SSM/I:

Special Sensor Microwave Imager

SSMIS:

Special Sensor Microwave Imager Sounder

TMPA:

Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis

TRMM:

Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission

VIC:

Variable Infiltration Capacity

WaterGAP:

Water Global Assessment and Prognosis

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague internal Grant 2020B0001 “A multiscale framework for data analysis of global precipitation”. The data compiled herein and the R code for the figures are publicly available at https://github.com/MiRoVaGo/chronology_gwc.

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Vargas Godoy, M.R., Markonis, Y., Hanel, M. et al. The Global Water Cycle Budget: A Chronological Review. Surv Geophys 42, 1075–1107 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10712-021-09652-6

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Keywords

  • Global water cycle
  • Water budget
  • Multi-source quantification