A comparative study of GRACE with continental evapotranspiration estimates in Australian semi-arid and arid basins: sensitivity to climate variability and extremes

Shen, Hong, Leblanc, Marc, Frappart, Frédéric, Seoane, Lucia, O'Grady, Damien, Olioso, Albert, and Tweed, Sarah (2017) A comparative study of GRACE with continental evapotranspiration estimates in Australian semi-arid and arid basins: sensitivity to climate variability and extremes. Water, 9 (9).

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Abstract

This study examines the dynamics and robustness of large-scale evapotranspiration products in water-limited environments. Four types of ET products are tested against rainfall in two large semi-arid to arid Australian basins from 2003 to 2010: two energy balance ET methods which are forced by optical satellite retrievals from MODIS; a newly developed land surface model (AWRA); and one approach based on observations from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) and rainfall data. The two basins are quasi (Murray-Darling Basin: 1.06 million km(2)) and completely (Lake Eyre Basin: 1.14 million km(2)) endorheic. During the study period, two extreme climatic events-the Millennium drought and the strongest La Nina event-were recorded in the basins and are used in our assessment. The two remotely-sensed ET products constrained by the energy balance tended to overestimate ET flux over water-stressed regions. They had low sensitivity to climatic extremes and poor capability to close the water balance. However, these two remotely-sensed and energy balance products demonstrated their superiority in capturing spatial features including over small-scale and complicated landscapes. AWRA and GRACE formulated in the water balance framework were more sensitive to rainfall variability and yielded more realistic ET estimates during climate extremes. GRACE demonstrated its ability to account for seasonal and inter-annual change in water storage for ET evaluation.

Item ID: 51253
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: evapotranspiration, GRACE, land surface model, water balance, energy balance, Australia
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© 2017 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0

ISSN: 2073-4441
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2017 07:31
FoR Codes: 08 INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES > 0806 Information Systems > 080606 Global Information Systems @ 50%
04 EARTH SCIENCES > 0401 Atmospheric Sciences > 040107 Meteorology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960909 Mountain and High Country Land and Water Management @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960501 Ecosystem Assessment and Management at Regional or Larger Scales @ 50%
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