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Land Water Storage within the Congo Basin Inferred from GRACE Satellite Gravity DataGRACE satellite gravity data is used to estimate terrestrial (surface plus ground) water storage within the Congo Basin in Africa for the period of April, 2002 - May, 2006. These estimates exhibit significant seasonal (30 +/- 6 mm of equivalent water thickness) and long-term trends, the latter yielding a total loss of approximately 280 km(exp 3) of water over the 50-month span of data. We also combine GRACE and precipitation data set (CMAP, TRMM) to explore the relative contributions of the source term to the seasonal hydrological balance within the Congo Basin. We find that the seasonal water storage tends to saturate for anomalies greater than 30-44 mm of equivalent water thickness. Furthermore, precipitation contributed roughly three times the peak water storage after anomalously rainy seasons, in early 2003 and 2005, implying an approximately 60-70% loss from runoff and evapotranspiration. Finally, a comparison of residual land water storage (monthly estimates minus best-fitting trends) in the Congo and Amazon Basins shows an anticorrelation, in agreement with the 'see-saw' variability inferred by others from runoff data.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Crowley, John W. (Toronto Univ. Ontario, Canada)
Mitrovica, Jerry X. (Toronto Univ. Ontario, Canada)
Bailey, Richard C. (Toronto Univ. Ontario, Canada)
Tamisiea, Mark E. (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Cambridge, MA, United States)
Davis, James L. (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics Cambridge, MA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
October 3, 2006
Publication Information
Publication: Geophysical Research Letters
Volume: 33
Subject Category
Meteorology and Climatology
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits