Terrestrial Water Storage Assessment

A novel Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS)-based terrestrial water storage time series for the nation.
book cover
6-month GPS-derived Terrestrial Water Storage Changes
Continental terrestrial water storage change snapshots from GNSS-derived time series. Blue (water excess) and red (water deficit) boxes indicate regions with large precipitation anomalies.


Global and regional changes in the distribution of terrestrial water – of great importance to many of the themes in the National Climate Assessment – have traditionally been challenging to measure. Recent time-varying gravity measurements from NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission have made possible new estimates of terrestrial water storage by sensing water mass changes directly, but these data have relatively low spatiotemporal resolution and long latencies, limiting their use in practical applications such as water resource management and climate prediction. At the same time, research over the past decade and a half has shown that the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) can detect surface displacements due to seasonal and longer-term changes in water loading at regional to global scales.
The goal of this research project is to use cutting-edge methods and data from NASA's SESES program and NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission to produce unprecedentedly detailed terrestrial water storage estimates for the United States from 2005 to the present. The project is also building the cyberinfrastructure needed for producing these products on an ongoing basis and for delivering products and visualizations to all stakeholders in the National Climate Assessment effort.

Dataset Information

The dataset shown in this interface is from Adusumilli et al., 2019.

Adusumilli, S., Borsa, A.A., Fish, M.A., McMillan, H.K. and Silverii, F., 2019. A decade of water storage changes across the contiguous United States from GPS and satellite gravity. Geophysical Research Letters, 46(22), pp.13006-13015. https://doi.org/10.1029/2019GL085370


Adrian Borsa, Principal Investigator

  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego

    Duncan Agnew, Co-Investigator
    Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego

    Viswanath Nandigam, Co-Investigator

  • San Diego Supercomputer Center, UC San Diego

    Kai Lin
    San Diego Supercomputer Center, UC San Diego

    Wesley Neely
    Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego

    The project is made possible by funding from NASA Research Opportunities in Space and Earth Sciences National Climate Assessment Grant Number NNX16AG30G and is based at the University of California San Diego (Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the San Diego Supercomputer Center)
    Contact us: twsa-info@ucsd.edu

    TWSA GitHub