Stunning NASA study shows humans are responsible for major changes to Earth's water availability GRACE Follow-On Mission | GRACE-FO | NASA NASA Satellites Reveal Major Shifts in Global Freshwater | NASA Emerging trends in global freshwater availability | Nature Grace Mission | NASA

Stunning NASA study shows humans are responsible for major changes to Earth's water availability

A stunning new study from NASA highlights the impact humans are having on fresh water availability across the globe, mentioning climate change and several other factors.

We see a distinctive pattern of the wetland areas of the world getting wetter – those are the high latitudes and the tropics – and the dry areas in between getting dryer. Figure  2 presents maps of the IPCC, GPCP and irrigated-area data. The glaciers of the Tien Shan mountain range, whose central third lies within region 11, are melting rapidly 49 , but not rapidly enough to explain all of the mass loss.

With ten years of additional hindsight, it appears that the region may have simply endured a prolonged drought from the late 1970s to the early 2000s. We can only justifiably conclude that natural variability is the primary explanation for both Australian trends. We tested these two theories as well as a third, agricultural water consumption. Data availability Specific sources of data used in this study were the following.

Google Scholar 12. Google Scholar 17. J. Appl. Science 351 , 590–593 (2016). Remote Sens. Wang, X., de Linage, C., Famiglietti, J. & Zender, C. Hao, Y. et al. Chen, J. Google Scholar 68. Willis, M. Google Scholar 81. L19402 (2006). Google Scholar 95. ITSG-Grace2016 - Monthly and Daily Gravity Field Solutions from GRACE (2016). M. JPL GRACE Mascon Ocean, Ice, and Hydrology Equivalent Water Height RL05M.1 CRI Filtered Version 2 PO.DAAC, CA, USA (2016).

Gelaro, R. et al. Graphics were produced by A. Annual precipitation totals—Eurasia. a – n , As in Extended Data Fig.  5 , for regions 7–18 and the full drainage basins of the Aral and Caspian seas. And there are other human-induced changes, relating not to climate change but, rather, to direct withdrawals of water from the landscape. This will alert our moderators to take action Name Reason for reporting: Foul language Slanderous Inciting hatred against a certain community Others Your Reason has been Reported to the admin.

Annotated map of TWS trends. Groundwater is being withdrawn to support irrigated agriculture across the province 50 , 51 and possibly to dewater coal mines 52 . Nevertheless, here we estimate the rate to be −7.0 ± 6.4 Gt yr −1 . Thus, we attribute the GRACE-period trend to natural variability 82 . These changes portend a future in which already limited water resources will become even more precious.

The primary GRACE TWS dataset is JPL Mascon RL05M.1 version 2, accessed on 3 February 2017 from . C. & van den Broeke, M. Syed, T. S. Detectability of variations in continental water storage from satellite observations of the time dependent gravity field. Earth Obs. Google Scholar 31. Google Scholar 38. S. Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) detection of water storage changes in the Three Gorges Reservoir of China and comparison with in situ measurements.

GRACE Follow-On Mission | GRACE-FO | NASA

GRACE Follow-On will continue the GRACE mission's work of tracking Earth's water movement to monitor changes in underground water storage, the amount of water in large lakes and rivers, soil moisture, ice sheets and glaciers, and sea level caused by the addition of water to the ocean.

Bruinsma, S., Lemoine, J.-M., Biancale, R. & Vales, N. N., Landerer, F. Long-term and seasonal Caspian Sea level change from satellite gravity and altimeter measurements. The modern-era retrospective analysis for research and applications, version 2 (MERRA-2). K. Moran, Global Science & Technology, Inc. Annual precipitation totals—North and South America. a – h , As in Extended Data Fig.  5 , for regions 19–26.

Areas in northern and eastern India, the Middle East, California and Australia are among the hotspots where overuse of water resources has caused a serious decline. Freshwater is defined as water found in lakes, rivers, soil, snow, groundwater and ice. Trends in TWS (in centimetres per year) obtained on the basis of GRACE observations from April 2002 to March 2016. However, region 11 is contained within an endorheic basin.

An apparent trend of 21.9 ± 3.9 Gt yr −1 occurs along the headwaters of the White Nile and Blue Nile rivers, including lakes Tanganyika and Victoria (region 28). Apparent TWS trends in about one-third of the study regions represent partial cycles of longer-term interannual oscillations and may fade or reverse over the decades (see green dots in Fig.  1 ). Among other purposes, these ensure a steady supply of water for crop irrigation 127 .

R. Regional acceleration in ice mass loss from Greenland and Antarctica using GRACE time-variable gravity data. H., Famiglietti, J. Google Scholar 18. Google Scholar 24. Reager, J. Dalin, C., Wada, Y., Kastner, T. & Puma, M. W12502 (2011). J. Am. Long-term Caspian Sea level change. Google Scholar 69. K., Pritchard, M. E. & Waylen, P. Ramillien, G., Frappart, F. & Seoane, L. Mapping probabilities of extreme continental water storage changes from space gravimetry.

M. Quantifying and reducing leakage errors in the JPL RL05M GRACE mascon solution. Solid Earth 122 , 2274–2290 (2017). Google Scholar 130. Portions of this research were conducted at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is operated for NASA under contract with the California Institute of Technology. Annual precipitation totals—Africa and Australia. a – h , As in Extended Data Fig.  5 , for regions 27–34.

Scientists led by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in the US used data on human activities to map locations where freshwater is changing around the globe and why. The GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) mission was a joint mission between NASA and the German Aerospace Center to watch the world's water. The cause of the trend in each outlined study region is briefly explained and colour-coded by category.

The trend is likely to diminish over time, although a 7% increase in precipitation is predicted by 2100. Together, the two lake level trends equate to less than a quarter (4.8 Gt yr −1 ) of the observed TWS trend. Although we have made every effort to attribute the apparent trends properly, they will all require continued observation to better understand their causes and constrain their rates. No data were available to quantify interannual variations in irrigation extent, intensity or volumes in the Caspian Sea drainage basin during the study period.

NASA Satellites Reveal Major Shifts in Global Freshwater | NASA

In a first-of-its-kind study, scientists have combined an array of NASA satellite observations of Earth with data on human activities to map locations where freshwater is changing around the globe and to determine why.

Google Scholar 46. Water Resour. Google Scholar 62. Satellites measure recent rates of groundwater depletion in California’s Central Valley. E. & Ramage, J. R. Spatial and temporal precipitation variability in the Okavango–Kwando–Zambezi catchment, southern Africa. Application of the regional water mass variations from GRACE satellite gravimetry to large-scale water management in Africa. Google Scholar 96.

Google Scholar 113. Google Scholar 121. Farinotti, D. et al. Author information Author notes J. We note the similarity between b – d , whose regional trend amplitudes have all been dampened by smoothing. The Aral Sea in 2015. On land, freshwater is one of the most essential of Earth’s resources, for drinking water and agriculture. Are octopuses alien? Full size image Table 1 TWS trends and supporting information Full size table Fig.

Sporadic droughts 73 in region 22, which encompasses parts of the southern High Plains and Texas, produced an apparent trend of −12.2 ± 3.6 Gt yr −1 during the GRACE period. Considering that, rainfall would seem to be the primary driver of TWS variations, while management of the large lakes 83 and dam building in the northern part of the region 84 also contribute. In many regions, crop irrigation on massive scales has been supported by unsustainable rates of groundwater abstraction 6 , 33 , 34 , 35 , 36 , 91 .

Global rain-fed, irrigated and paddy croplands version-1 data were accessed on 12 September 2016 from . Wada, Y., van Beek, L. P., Willis, J. J. F., Wahr, J. & Famiglietti, J. Oldenborgh, G. A decade of sea level rise slowed by climate-driven hydrology. Nature 543 , 700–704 (2017). Chao, B. Google Scholar 53. Han, S.-C., Sauber, J., Luthcke, S. L03403 (2011).

J. Arid Environ. Google Scholar 88. van Dijk, A. Green, T. Google Scholar 105. Cheng, M. & Tapley, B. A, G., Wahr, J. & Zhong, S. Substantial glacier mass loss in the Tien Shan over the past 50 years. Rodell  & H. Comparison of normalized anomalies of Caspian Sea level changes and three primary drivers. And you know, now we’re at a point in many of these aquifers where we can’t take it for granted anymore.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2018 FOX News Network, LLC. Positive trends in sub-regions of Antarctica and Greenland result from increasing snow accumulation 28 and millennial-scale dynamic thickening processes 29 , 30 . Here we estimate a TWS change rate of −11.3 ± 1.3 Gt yr −1 for region 12. In this case we forecast partial replenishment. However, rainfall is not particularly well correlated with either TWS or lake levels.

Emerging trends in global freshwater availability | Nature


Therefore, Russian crop production is a fair, but imperfect, indicator of agricultural water demand in the basin. Global reservoir/lake elevation TPJO.2.3 data were accessed on 29 July 2016 from . P. H. & Bierkens, M. K. & Hilburn, K. A comparison of terrestrial water storage variations from GRACE with in situ measurements from Illinois.

Science 351 , 699–703 (2016). Google Scholar 39. F., Wu, Y. Shamsudduha, M., Taylor, R. B., Ji, C. & Pollitz, S. Google Scholar 70. Google Scholar 76. Google Scholar 82. J. M. et al. Beneath the surface of global change: impacts of climate change on groundwater. Kurtenbach, E. et al. D. Variations in the Earth’s oblateness during the past 28 years. Computations of the viscoelastic response of a 3-D compressible Earth to surface loading: an application to Glacial Isostatic Adjustment in Antarctica and Canada.

K. Beaudoing Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA J. Normalized anomalies of changes in annual mean Caspian Sea level (black), Volga River discharge (blue), Russian total crop weight (yellow) and Caspian Sea evaporation (red). Follow @chriscmooney The story must be told. Please enter a valid email address. All rights reserved. They also complement recent studies that identify increasing rates of precipitation in the tropics and increasing water storage and river discharge in the high Arctic 12 , 32 .

Large precipitation variations caused TWS to seesaw between high and low (Extended Data Fig.  7 ). The lack of correlation may be indicative of inaccuracies stemming from the sparsity of rain gauges in the region. This is important for two reasons. Yearly total production was normalized by subtracting the 24-year mean and dividing it by the standard deviation. Precipitation change data predicted by the IPCC 5th Assessment Report (RCP8.5) were accessed on 1 September 2016 from .

Satellite-based global-ocean mass balance estimates of interannual variability and emerging trends in continental freshwater discharge. L16401 (2006). F. et al.) 1311–1393 (Cambridge Univ. Google Scholar 32. Phillips, T., Nerem, R., Fox-Kemper, B., Famiglietti, J. & Rajagopalan, B. H. & Li, Y. G. & Longuevergne, L. S. Implications of postseismic gravity change following the great 2004 Sumatra-Andaman earthquake from the regional harmonic analysis of GRACE intersatellite tracking data.

Grace Mission | NASA brings you the latest images, videos and news from America's space agency. Get the latest updates on NASA missions, watch NASA TV live, and learn about our quest to reveal the unknown and benefit all humankind.

Your subscription supports journalism that matters. Please write complete sentences. M. Rodell 1 , J. A second characteristic of the map is that it reveals a clear ‘human fingerprint’ on the global water cycle. All evidence suggests that this trend is human-induced and likely to continue until groundwater becomes scarce or regulations are put in place to reduce consumption rates. The fringes of the aquifer have already run dry in places, and recent estimates predict that the southern High Plains aquifer could be depleted within 30 years 74 .

Most groundwater depletion is occurring within Earth’s mid-latitudes, resulting in a positive drying feedback that is accelerating water losses and the severity of related socioeconomic issues 33 . Notably, the correlation between crop production and precipitation was negligible, suggesting that irrigation effectively mitigates the impact of drought. Russian crop production data were accessed on 16 August 2017 from .

Natl Acad. Google Scholar 19. Press, Cambridge, 2013); . Landerer, F. The influence of ENSO on global terrestrial water storage using GRACE. S. Impact of artificial reservoir water impoundment on global sea level. Monitoring groundwater storage changes in the highly seasonal humid tropics: validation of GRACE measurements in the Bengal Basin.

R. et al. R., Tapley, B. B. et al. in Gravity, Geoid and Earth Observation, International Association of Geodesy Symposia Vol. Google Scholar 89. Taylor, R. Google Scholar 106. Google Scholar 114. Paulson, A., Zhong, S. & Wahr, J. A reconciled estimate of glacier contributions to sea level rise: 2003 to 2009. N. Wiese , J. Sea-level change is positively correlated with Volga River discharge and negatively correlated with Russian crop weight and evaporation.

Photochromic materials can change colour under stimulation of light. S. Famiglietti 2 , 5   nAff5 , D. As seen in Fig.  2 , freshwater is rapidly disappearing in many of the world’s irrigated agricultural regions 6 , 10 , 33 , 34 , 35 , 36 , 37 , 38 . The total annual precipitation was well above normal from 1998 to 2001, resulting in elevated TWS. Despite this situation, entrenched water rights are likely to preserve the status quo until the damage forces the hands of policymakers and stakeholders.

Although largely successful in removing errors, the post-processing also damps and smooths real geophysical signals 101 . Interannual variations in Caspian Sea evaporation do indeed contribute significantly to Caspian Sea level changes. Volga River discharge observations are restricted from public access, but a time series of normalized annual discharge values was provided to M.R. by V. W00L06 (2012).

Mapping changes in world's water, NASA scientists find 'human fingerprint' in many areas

Boening, C., Willis, J. G. et al. Liu, X. et al. Swenson, S., Chambers, D. & Wahr, J. Inference of mantle viscosity from GRACE and relative sea level data. Science 340 , 852–857 (2013). T. Reager  & F. Source Data Source Data Fig. In northern India, groundwater extraction for irrigation of wheat and rice crops has led to depletion, despite rainfall being normal throughout the period studied, the report said.

N. Wiese 2 , J. Eurasia The hotspot in northern India (region 7) was among the first non-polar TWS trends to be revealed by GRACE 41 , 42 . During the GRACE period, precipitation declined at a rate of −10 mm yr −1 (−0.7% per year), and the annual accumulations were below average from 2009 to 2015. South America Melting of the Patagonian ice fields (region 23) has previously been documented using altimetry 75 and GRACE 76 .

Therefore, in this work we use JPL-M for trend analysis and mapping; however, we use all three mascon solutions (JPL-M, CSR-M and GSFC-M) to derive uncertainties. We note that the full GIA corrections to Antarctica, the Gulf of Alaska coast and the Patagonian ice fields are not incorporated into Extended Data Fig.  1 and 3 . Khan of the Hydrometeorological Research Center of the Russian Federation.

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Google Scholar 123. Google Scholar 132. W. Landerer Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA H. Source Data Fig. The fact that extractions already exceed recharge during normal precipitation does not bode well for the availability of groundwater during future droughts, the researchers said. The meme, once defined as a small unit of culture, is an underrated invention of the digital era.

It results from groundwater extraction to irrigate crops, including wheat and rice, in a semi-arid climate. Decreasing water storage in the Middle East has been quantified using GRACE by previous studies 54 , 55 , 56 . On the basis of our analysis (see  Methods for details), TWS loss is occurring at a rate of −25.7 ± 5.1 Gt yr −1 . TWS has been increasing in tropical western Africa (region 29) at a rate of 24.1 ± 2.1 Gt yr −1 .

NASA Satellites reveal major shifts in global freshwater

The loss of freshwater from the ice sheets at the poles attributed to the climate change and indicates the rise in sea level.

Terrestrial water budget of the Eurasian pan-Arctic from GRACE satellite measurements during 2003–2009. Humphrey, V., Gudmundsson, L. & Seneviratne, S. Zhang, G., Xie, H., Kang, S., Yi, D. & Ackley, S. Voss, K. C., Sauber, J. & Riva, R. Google Scholar 71. R. Patagonia icefield melting observed by gravity recovery and climate experiment (GRACE). Monitoring the water balance of Lake Victoria, East Africa, from space.

Google Scholar 98. J. Int. B08410 (2008). Purcell, A., Tregoning, P. & Dehecq, A. Mou, D. & Li, Z. K. Beaudoing Department of Atmospheric Sciences, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan M.-H. Source Data Extended Data Fig. Embedded within the dry areas we see multiple hotspots resulting from groundwater depletion,” said Mr. On a cool grey morning, 7.30 on the dot, Muriel drops Bins and me off at the Peter Pan bus terminal.

Fifty-four per cent of the area is equipped for irrigation. The declines result from a combination of recent drought and consequent increases in groundwater demand. In a warming world, melting of the Patagonian ice fields will continue until they are exhausted. Precipitation was 3% below normal in 2000–2002 and 3% above normal during the rest of the GRACE period. Because GRACE does not produce a reliable estimate of Earth’s oblateness ( C 20 coefficient), we follow the standard protocol of using satellite laser ranging to provide this estimate 113 .

Data analysed to create Extended Data Fig.  9 are available from D.N.R. upon request. F. Contribution of global groundwater depletion since 1900 to sea-level rise. The observed state of the water cycle in the early 21st century. Google Scholar 20. L. & Mitrovica, J. D23115 (2010). I. Assessing global water storage variability from GRACE: trends, seasonal cycle, subseasonal anomalies and extremes.

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Lo Authors Search for M. Comments By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines . Please write complete sentences. Older than telegram, they were used to relay military information across large distances. W. Landerer 2 & M.-H. We estimate the rate of TWS depletion to be 19.2 ± 1.1 Gt yr -1 , which is within the range of GRACE-based estimates from previous studies of differently defined northern-India regions 41 , 42 , 43 .

Humans are causing massive changes in the location of water around the world, NASA says

A study shows that middle-latitude belts are drying, and the tropics and higher latitudes are gaining water supplies.

This appears to be the primary cause of TWS accumulation, although the possible contribution of the many dams being built in this part of Africa 44 is unknown. Jumps in the background atmosphere and ocean dealiasing product are corrected as well 118 . Precipitation trends (% per year) and percentages of normal precipitation were computed using the 1979–2015 annual mean precipitation totals for each region.

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Solid Earth 121 , 3939–3950 (2016). Energy Policy 48 , 358–368 (2012). Search for J. Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. That's due in part to human activities like agriculture, but also to the consequences of climate change. A map showing data collected by NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission from 2002 to 2016. Abstract Freshwater availability is changing worldwide.

However, the Saudi Arabian government ended their domestic wheat production programme in market year 2014–15 57 . A model has not yet been developed to properly separate its effect from TWS variations after that date (Extended Data Fig.  3 ). Because interannual variability of rainfall is substantial in the region 85 , disregarding the dams it is likely that the change rate of TWS will oscillate around zero over the coming decades.

Predicted precipitation changes were computed as area-weighted averages from the IPCC dataset 25 over the study regions. These are available from D.N.W. upon reasonable request. Google Scholar 8. van Dijk, A. Google Scholar 14. D. et al. L20501 (2005). S. The global groundwater crisis. Rodell, M., Velicogna, I. & Famiglietti, J. Zhang, T. Sultan, M., Ahmed, M., Wahr, J., Yan, E. & Emil, M. in Remote Sensing of the Terrestrial Water Cycle (eds Lakshmi, V. et al.) 349–366 (John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, 2014).

New NASA Satellite Data Shows The World Is Running Out Of Freshwater, Even India

Search for D. Key Findings • Freshwater is found in lakes, rivers, soil, snow, groundwater and ice. Trending: What is Prince Harry's Last Name And Will Meghan Markle Take It? They analyzed the information alongside irrigation maps, precipitation data from the Global Precipitation Climatology Project, Landsat imagery from the NASA/U.S. Several of these trends had been lacking thorough investigation and attribution, including massive changes in northwestern China and the Okavango Delta.

Thus, although some farms have continued to operate, it is likely that the depletion rate in region 14 will diminish, and TWS may already be stabilizing (Extended Data Fig.  2 ). TWS had previously been declining at a rate of −8.6 ± 1.2 Gt yr −1 . By 2100, rainfall is predicted to decrease by 6%; hence, the dam construction may be timely. First, missing months of data were filled by linear interpolation.

Additional information Publisher’s note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations. I. J. Famiglietti, J. Resolving mass flux at high spatial and temporal resolution using GRACE intersatellite measurements. Google Scholar 27. Google Scholar 34. S. Satellite-based estimates of groundwater depletion in India. Y. & Jin, S.

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Google Scholar 116. Reply to comment by W. Feng, W. et al. Search for H. This was the cause of the significant groundwater depletion observed in California’s Central Valley from 2007 to 2015. The study chopped the world into 34 regions, all but one of which either gained or lost about as much water as can be held in Lake Mead in Nevada. Geological Survey and published reports of human activity related to agriculture, mining and reservoir operations, according to a news release .

The contribution of Himalayan glacier mass loss to the regional trend is minor 41 , 42 . Region 15 has experienced a more complicated recent water history 54 , 58 . The region received substantially elevated precipitation in five of the six years between 1999 and 2004, producing a TWS surplus at the start of the GRACE period. Between 1999 and 2002 rainfall averaged 4% above normal, while it averaged 1% below normal during the rest of the GRACE period, including two very dry years in 2014 and 2015.

The explanation for the mass-loss trend in northwestern China (region 11), −5.5 ± 0.5 Gt yr −1 , is complex. References 1. M., Renzullo, L. S. et al. L04310 (2005). Gardner, A. Gleeson, T., Wada, Y., Bierkens, M. Nature 460 , 999–1002 (2009). G. Estimate of glacial isostatic adjustment uplift rate in the Tibetan Plateau from GRACE and GIA models. Estimating the human contribution to groundwater depletion in the Middle East, from GRACE data, land surface models, and well observations.

'India's freshwater stocks in danger'

NASA report based on observations from multiple satellites tracks global hydrologic changes

L23307 (2010). Earth Sci. Munier, S., Becker, M., Maisongrande, P. & Cazenave, A. W03201 (2006). Andrews, S. Shepherd, A. et al. R. Peltier, D. Evaluation of groundwater depletion in North China using the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) data and ground-based measurements. Search for F. Southwestern California lost 4 gigatons of freshwater per year during the same period. A third of the regions saw changes about 10 times as large.

Main Groundwater, soil moisture, surface waters, snow and ice are dynamic components of the terrestrial water cycle 1 , 2 , 3 . Although the r 2 value is low (0.24), the TWS and rainfall trends are both consistent with the RCP8.5-predicted 23% precipitation increase by 2100. Turkey’s construction of 22 dams upstream on the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in the last three decades has considerably decreased the rate of flow into Iraq and Syria.

The negative trend along the coast of southeastern Africa (region 31), −12.9 ± 2.3 Gt yr −1 , reflects a recent severe drought 79 , which has caused major food shortages. Finally, for each month in the original, non-gap-filled time series, the mean for the corresponding month of the year was subtracted. Drought was not a factor, given that precipitation was 10% above normal and stable during the period.

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B., Moore, P. & King, M. A reconciled estimate of ice-sheet mass balance. F. Argus, and R. Google Scholar 134. Search for M.-H. A gigaton of water would fill 400,000 Olympic swimming pools. That included tracking down changes caused by melting ice sheets and glaciers as well as included human activity, like irrigation for agriculture and pumping groundwater out to drink. Into the wild with Thomas D.

The increasing trend in eastern central China (region 9) is caused by a surge in dam construction and subsequent reservoir filling across that region 44 . Combined with long-term drought, this has forced widespread over-reliance on groundwater for both domestic and agricultural needs, and largely explains the large negative TWS trend 54 , 59 . TWS increased during the GRACE period in central and western Brazil and its neighbours (region 25) at a rate of 51.9 ± 9.4 Gt yr −1 .

Scientists Find 'Major Change' in Freshwater Caused by Agriculture, Climate

The study looks at freshwater between 2002 and 2016 and suggests that water distribution is becoming more extreme—places that used to have more water have even more water, and places that used to have less water have even less water. Trending: What is Prince Harry's Last Name And Will Meghan Markle

Watkins, M. Nature 473 , 357–360 (2011). P. Water balance of global aquifers revealed by groundwater footprint. Tiwari, V. Google Scholar 49. USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. Space geodesy constrains ice age terminal deglaciation: the global ICE-6G_C (VM5a) model. W. & Trouet, V. R. & Tapley, B. Ndehedehe, C. Water Tech. McCabe, M. A. Mass change from GRACE: a simulated comparison of Level-1B analysis techniques.

Drummond on “An assessment of the ICE6G_C (VM5a) glacial isostatic adjustment model”. Moiwo, J. Contributions M.R. and J.S.F. performed background research and designed the study with input from J.T.R. and M.-H.L. Saudi Arabia: Downward trends in freshwater were also seen in Saudi Arabia, reflecting agricultural pressures. The GRACE mission ended last year but its successor, GRACE Follow-On, is currently scheduled to launch on May 22 , after several delays .

Nearly two-thirds of terrestrial aquatic habitats are being increasingly threatened 11 , while the precipitation and river discharge that support them are becoming more variable 12 . The best known is the Three Gorges Dam reservoir, which was filled to its design capacity of 39.3 Gt between June 2003 and October 2010 45 . Surface and groundwater depletion is likely to continue in a stepwise fashion, with periods of near-stability during normal-to-wet years and rapid declines during drought years.

Water levels in Lake Malawi, which is in the centre of the region, are well correlated with regional TWS. The GRACE measurement error is taken to be 1 σ , where σ is the standard deviation between trend estimates obtained from JPL-M, CSR-M and GSFC-M. Xinjiang province is one of the world’s largest producers of coal, having an estimated 2.2 trillion tons of reserves 132 . Circular 169 (Illinois State Water Survey, 1987).

Google Scholar 15. M., Wiese, D. Google Scholar 28. Nature 488 , 197–200 (2012). M., Wahr, J. & Swenson, S. Jacob, T., Wahr, J., Pfeffer, W. Saudi Arabia Grain and Feed Annual, Global Agricultural Information Network . Solid Earth 120 , 450–487 (2015). Multi-century evaluation of Sierra Nevada snowpack. D. The 2009 exceptional Amazon flood and interannual terrestrial water storage change observed by GRACE.

Google Scholar 91. F. et al. Google Scholar 109. Google Scholar 117. Solid Earth 123 , 2029–2032 (2017). P., Tao, F. & Lu, W. D.N.W. and J.T.R. led the GRACE data and error analysis with assistance from F.W.L. A perfect example is Africa’s western Zambezi basin and Okavango Delta, where water storage increased at an average rate of 29 gigatons per year from 2002 to 2016. If all goes well on Tuesday, NASA will once again be monitoring the movement of freshwater around the globe.

NASA study shows freshwater decline in India

Without corrective actions by the governments to preserve water, the situation is likely to worsen in these areas, it added.

To the north, an adjoining zone of TWS depletion (region 16; −18.1 ± 1.3 Gt yr −1 ) extends from the Ukraine through western Russia and into Kazakhstan. As a result, TWS recovered from the early-period drought 78 and exhibited a massive, but transitory, increasing trend which may have already ended (Extended Data Fig.  3 ). The lake declined at a mean rate of 78 mm yr −1 during the period, accounting for 2.3 Gt yr −1 of the observed TWS trend.

Reported rates of coal removal and burning are more than an order of magnitude smaller than the GRACE-observed mass loss 132 , but mining involves dewatering of the aquifers that the mines intersect. Rodell, M. & Famiglietti, J. Google Scholar 9. Tapley, B. N., Yuan, D. Boening, C., Lebsock, M., Landerer, F. & Stephens, G. Google Scholar 35. Dwindling groundwater resources in northern India, from satellite gravity observations.

Report number SA1602 (US Department of Agriculture, 2016); . Google Scholar 65. Google Scholar 73. W12526 (2010). L., Kuhn, M., Agutu, N. Jaramillo, F. & Destouni, G. The future of Earth observation in hydrology. Save, H., Bettadpur, S. & Tapley, B. Wahr, J., Nerem, R. Google Scholar 125.

M.R. and F.W.L. designed the figures with additional data prepared by H.K.B. This wet period followed at least two decades of dryness. The Independent Details emerge from star-studded Royal Wedding evening reception Yahoo News UK May I have a word about… Goldilocks? Transcript: Sen. Much of our knowledge of past and current freshwater availability comes from a limited set of ground-based, point observations.

As before, the root cause of this depletion is competition for scarce water resources, exacerbated by drought. The magnitude of this trend is explained by both the size of the region and the intensity of the Amazon water cycle 79 . Hence, it is likely that the apparent trend is primarily caused by natural variability 84 , although a 6% decrease in rainfall is predicted during this century. For a more direct comparison of the three solutions over our regions of interest, we matched the spectral content of JPL-M to that of CSR-M.

S. An analysis of terrestrial water storage variations in Illinois with implications for the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE). Zektser, I. D., Bettadpur, S., Ries, J. N., Boening, C. & Landerer, F. Snowfall-driven mass change on the East Antarctic ice sheet. Richey, A. L18401 (2009). Recent contributions of glaciers and ice caps to sea level rise. Becker, R. Comment on “An Assessment of the ICE-6G_C (VM5a) glacial isostatic adjustment model by Purcell et al.

Wet areas getting wetter, GRACE reveals

The global land data assimilation system. Processes 27 , 1011–1020 (2013). M.R. and J.S.F. wrote the manuscript. Xinjiang province in northwestern China: A combination of natural and human pressures led to complex scenarios in the Xinjiang province of northwestern China. Yahoo Style UK A right Royal party! Copyright © 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. Satellite remote sensing has proven crucial to monitoring water storage and fluxes in a changing world, enabling a truly global perspective that spans political boundaries 14 .

Fifteen per cent of the area is irrigated, including fertile croplands that are vital to Russia. Still, we note that southern Brazil is a hotbed of dam construction 44 , and it is possible that the filling of reservoirs contributed to the upward trend. A weak negative trend, −11.7 ± 2.9 Gt yr −1 , extends across arid Africa north of 19° N, excluding Morocco (region 32). The regularization of the CSR mascon solution is based on a smoothed (using a 200-km Gaussian) representation of a regularized spherical-harmonic solution 109 .

Google Scholar 3. S. & Everett, L. C., Thompson, P. W. Improved methods for observing Earth’s time variable mass distribution with GRACE using spherical cap mascons. L21501 (2012). Uncertainty in global groundwater storage estimates in a total groundwater stress framework. Google Scholar 43. Nature 482 , 514–518 (2012). H. The stalled recovery of the Iraqi marshes. Google Scholar 66. N. et al.

Climate teleconnections influence on West Africa’s terrestrial water storage. Science 350 , 1248–1251 (2015). Flechtner, F. et al. Solid Earth 121 , 7547–7569 (2016). V. The pole tide and its effect on GRACE time variable gravity measurements: Implications for estimates of surface mass variations. Google Scholar 126. Google Scholar 135. M. Rodell . During the first decades of this century, water declines occurred in Xinjiang, which lost 5.5 gigatons of terrestrial water storage per year.

Freshwater is found in lakes, rivers, soil, snow, groundwater and ice. In particular, since its launch in 2002, the GRACE mission 15 has tracked ice-sheet and glacier ablation, groundwater depletion and other TWS changes 16 , 17 , 18 , 19 . Additional surface-water storage would have been partially offset by glacier retreat and warming-enhanced evaporation. Precipitation during the study period was 97% of normal, with a decreasing trend of 6 mm yr −1 (1% per year).

Three studies 6 , 10 , 36 estimated recent rates of consumptive groundwater use across North Africa to be 7.8 Gt yr −1 , 15.7 Gt yr −1 and 4.1 Gt yr −1 , bracketing our TWS depletion estimate. Hence, it is expected that the final mascon solution will inherit some of these spectral characteristics. All either declined or did not change significantly. Getirana, A., Kumar, S., Girotto, M. & Rodell, M.

NASA satellites reveal freshwater decline in India

Groundwater extraction for irrigation of crops caused a rapid decline in available water

Forman, B. What caused the spring intensification and winter demise of the 2011 drought over Texas? C., Reager, J. Processes 31 , 3206–3224 (2017). Google Scholar 92. What can be expected from the GRACE-FO laser ranging interferometer for Earth science applications? Google Scholar 110. Solid Earth 120 , 4597–4615 (2015). Crétaux, J.-F. et al. Tang, Q., Zhang, X. & Tang, Y. Extended data figures and tables Extended Data Fig.

Freshwater is found in lakes, rivers, soil, snow, groundwater and ice. We see a distinctive pattern of the wet land areas of the world getting wetter - those are the high latitudes and the tropics - and the dry areas in between getting dryer. On a monthly basis GRACE can resolve TWS changes with sufficient accuracy over scales that range from approximately 200,000 km 2 at low latitudes to about 90,000 km 2 near the poles 1 .

The water demands of regions 15 and 16 place severe pressure on the Aral and Caspian Seas 60 (regions 17 and 18, respectively). In fact, owing to the recent strong El Niño, 2015 was the driest year in the 37-year record for region 25 (Extended Data Fig.  3 ), which may portend a reversion to average TWS. Australia Australia appears to be bipolar with respect to water storage during the GRACE era, with wetting in the east and north and drying in the northwest.

The two lowlands into which region 11 drains (one to the northwest, one to the southeast) have GRACE-based trends of 0.3 Gt yr −1 and −0.6 Gt yr −1 (both insignificant). Rivers and floodplains as key components of global terrestrial water storage variability. Siebert, S. et al. M. GRACE measurements of mass variability in the Earth system. Google Scholar 22. Schlegel, N.-J. et al. Döll, P., Schmied, H.

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Extended Data Fig. The new research, led by NASA’s Matthew Rodell, pulls together these and other findings to identify 34 global regions that gained or lost more than 32 billion tons of water between 2002 and 2016. We see a distinctive pattern of the wet land areas of the world getting wetter - those are the high latitudes and the tropics - and the dry areas in between getting dryer. Stay up to date on all the latest Nation news with The New Indian Express App.

The latter study 49 noted that interannual mass variability in the region during the GRACE period is large relative to the inferred trend 49 . The demise of the Aral Sea is well known. Africa Six apparent trends stand out in Africa. The worst drought in over 100 years afflicted eastern Australia during 2001–2009 88 . Thus, the agreement is substantially improved, and trends in the smoothed version of JPL-M are also damped similarly to CSR-M and GSFC-M (see Extended Data Fig.  9 for an example).

NASA reveals major changes in worldwide water availability

"This is the first time that we've used observations from multiple satellites in a thorough assessment of how freshwater availability is changing, everywhere on Earth"

Groundwater use for irrigation – a global inventory. Science 305 , 503–505 (2004). Adler, R. et al. Application of GRACE to the assessment of model-based estimates of monthly Greenland Ice Sheet mass balance (2003–2012). M., Schuh, C., Portmann, F. Spatiotemporal evolution of water storage changes in India from the updated GRACE-derived gravity records. Investigation of the dramatic changes in lake level of the Bosten Lake in northwestern China.

H. & Rodell, M. Haacker, E. S. & Rodell, M. Crowley, J. Becker, N.) 15–32 (Springer Science & Business media, Dordrecht, 2013). W. & Swenson, S. N., Bentel, K., Boening, C. & Watkins, M. Fagiolini, E., Flechtner, F., Horwath, M. & Dobslaw, H. Google Scholar 127. Google Scholar 136. Non-seasonal TWS anomalies—Eurasia. a – l , As in Extended Data Fig.  1 , for regions 7–18. As the study notes, 32 billion tons is about the amount of water contained in Lake Mead, which is in Nevada and Arizona.

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! The GRACE data were processed using an advanced mass concentration 20 (‘mascon’) approach that enables improved signal resolution relative to the standard spherical-harmonic technique 21 . We concur ( r 2  = 0.67) and conclude that there is no basis for extrapolating the apparent TWS trend into the future. Our estimate of the mass change in what remains of it is −2.2 ± 0.1 Gt yr −1 .

It is likely that groundwater was more heavily consumed during that time to compensate for reduced availability of surface waters. Similar analysis has been performed before in a study of mass variations over the Caspian Sea 120 . The average annual precipitation in region 11 is 194 mm yr −1 , making it the fourth-driest of the 32 study regions. Luthcke, S. Google Scholar 11. Google Scholar 16. The New Version 2.3 of the Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) Monthly Analysis Product (2016).

T. & Eicker, A. Google Scholar 44. Google Scholar 51. Ground Water (2017). Assimilation of terrestrial water storage from GRACE in a snow-dominated basin. M., Kendall, A. A GRACE-based water storage deficit approach for hydrological drought characterization. W., Mitrovica, J. Bhanja, S. C. Accuracy of scaled GRACE terrestrial water storage estimates. M. North Atlantic meridional overturning circulation variations from GRACE ocean bottom pressure anomalies.

NASA study warns of freshwater decline in India

The study found that Earth's wetland areas are getting wetter and dry areas are getting drier due to a variety of factors, including human water management, climate change and natural cycles.

Best-fit linear rates of change after removing the seasonal cycle (referred to herein as ‘apparent trends’) are presented in Table  1 for 34 study regions. In fact, it appears to have reversed in 2013 (Extended Data Fig.  2 ). Water level fluctuations in the Caspian Sea have previously been attributed to meteorological variability 8 and direct evaporation from the sea 61 . This region experienced a remarkable change in its hydroclimate.

We use the standard deviation of trend estimates obtained from the smoothed version of JPL-M, CSR-M and GSFC-M to derive the GRACE measurement errors. To summarize, the Tien Shan mountain glaciers in region 11 are shrinking because of global warming. B. et al. Vörösmarty, C. Wahr, J., Molenaar, M. & Bryan, F. Salmon, J. Google Scholar 30. Global-scale assessment of groundwater depletion and related groundwater abstractions: Combining hydrological modeling with information from well observations and GRACE satellites.

Stone, R. Zmijewski, K. & Becker, R. W01507 (2012). D. & Hyndman, D. Google Scholar 80. X., Bailey, R. Groundwater rejuvenation in parts of India influenced by water-policy change implementation. W04531 (2012). Google Scholar 111. Google Scholar 119. B. Volga-Kama cascade reservoirs and their optimal use. Quantifying the anthropogenic impact on groundwater resources of North China using Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment data and land surface models.

NASA, after Rodell et al., 2018. Go hybrid. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. The reported uncertainty bounds are typically low because the process of removing glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA) signals is the only major source of error in the secular signal. Region 11 lies to the west of the city of Urumqi in northwestern China’s Xinjiang province. We find that the annual discharge from the Volga River explains 60% of the variance in the annual mean level of the Caspian Sea compared with 18% explained by evaporation from the sea.

Northern Western Australia received greater-than-normal rainfall during every year from 1997 to 2001, including the two wettest years in the GPCP record in 2000 and 2001. The uncertainty on the trend for any region is given by the root sum of squares combining the GIA model error (which manifests only as a trend) and the GRACE measurement error. Groundwater may be declining owing to agricultural withdrawals or mining operations, but the latter is unconfirmed.

J. et al. Time variability of the Earth’s gravity field: hydrological and oceanic effects and their possible detection using GRACE. M., Friedl, M. MacGregor, J. Google Scholar 37. E., Berlekamp, J., Tydecks, L. & Tockner, K. For China and Kazakhstan, no meeting of the minds on water. Estimating the effects of anthropogenic modification on water balance in the Aral Sea watershed using GRACE: 2003–12.

Big worry for India: NASA satellites reveal freshwater decline in the nation

Wiese, D. Global evaluation of new GRACE mascon products for hydrologic applications. Lakes Reservoirs: Res. Landsat is an interagency programme managed by NASA and the US Geological Survey. Non-seasonal TWS anomalies—Africa and Australia. a – h , As in Extended Data Fig.  1 , for regions 27–34. The study emphasizes that the 34 separate changes that it detects do not all have the same cause — not even close.

Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Therefore, low uncertainty does not, on its own, imply that the apparent trends existed before the GRACE period or will continue into the future. During the study period, TWS depletion was intense: −5.5 ± 0.5 Gt yr −1 from an area of only 215,000 km 2 . Because the Caspian Sea contains about 78,000 Gt of water, at the current rate it will survive for three more millennia, but a receding shoreline could be an issue.

Thus, region 34 began 2002 near the maximum TWS capacity, and it gradually returned to average 90 (−8.9 ± 1.2 Gt yr −1 ) with 99% of normal precipitation during the GRACE period. Time series for the Aral and Caspian seas (regions 17 and 18) were calculated by applying a set of gain factors to the GRACE data. Because region 11 lies within an endorheic basin, neither glacier melt nor groundwater pumping can alone explain the observed TWS depletion.

Global threats to human water security and river biodiversity. J. Geophys. A., Frolking, S., Wisser, D. & Douglas, E. A. et al. Long, D. et al. A global boom in hydropower dam construction. Science 337 , 405–407 (2012). Earth Interact. Bouchard, F. et al. Ground Water 54 , 231–242 (2016). C. Extreme water deficit in Brazil detected from space. E. & Davis, J. Eicker, A., Forootan, E., Springer, A., Longuevergne, L. & Kusche, J.

N., Yuan, D.-N., Boening, C., Landerer, F. Water Resourc. Google Scholar 128. Lake products are courtesy of the USDA/NASA G-REALM programme (available at ). Annual precipitation totals—global regions. a – f , Time series of annual precipitation totals (in millimetres) averaged over each of study regions 1–6, based on GPCP v.2.3. There’s strong suspicion that the melting of glaciers and ice sheets is tied to climate change.

Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. We chose the high-end (‘business as usual’) scenario because it accentuates regional differences, which are more important for this analysis than absolute magnitudes are. Precipitation data indicate that drought was a non-factor. Three mass changes in Eurasia that are prominent in Fig.  1 are not associated with TWS at all. A permanent climatic shift was previously speculated on the basis of a significant decrease in annual precipitation in 1950–1975 and 1980–2005 81 .

Recent variations in Caspian Sea level have been attributed by previous studies to natural meteorological variability 8 and direct evaporation from the sea surface 61 . The corollary is that the resulting additions to surface water are balanced by desert- and irrigation-enhanced evapotranspiration. Google Scholar 5. Nature 467 , 555–561 (2010). Solid Earth 103 , 30205–30229 (1998). M. Global rain-fed, irrigated, and paddy croplands: a new high resolution map derived from remote sensing, crop inventories and climate data.

Global analysis of spatiotemporal variability in merged total water storage changes using multiple GRACE products and global hydrological models. Google Scholar 45. Google Scholar 52. Google Scholar 61. Vulnerability of shallow subarctic lakes to evaporate and desiccate when snowmelt runoff is low. Google Scholar 75. J. Hydrometeorol. L. Land water storage within the Congo Basin inferred from GRACE satellite gravity data.

Mayer-Gürr, T. et al. W. & Watkins, M. Google Scholar 120. Crop Production (Indicator) (2017). V. Khan of the Hydrometeorological Research Center of the Russian Federation assisted with the Volga River discharge analysis. We note that the y  axes vary among panels. On land, it’s possible that some droughts and rainfall increases might also be, though the study is cautious about that, noting that natural variability can also be a major factor.