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Quantifying the Global Fresh Water Budget: Capabilities from Current and Future Satellite SensorsThe global water cycle is complex and its components are difficult to measure, particularly at the global scales and with the precision needed for assessing climate impacts. Recent advances in satellite observational capabilities, however, are greatly improving our knowledge of the key terms in the fresh water flux budget. Many components of the of the global water budget, e.g. precipitation, atmospheric moisture profiles, soil moisture, snow cover, sea ice are now routinely measured globally using instruments on satellites such as TRMM, AQUA, TERRA, GRACE, and ICESat, as well as on operational satellites. New techniques, many using data assimilation approaches, are providing pathways toward measuring snow water equivalent, evapotranspiration, ground water, ice mass, as well as improving the measurement quality for other components of the global water budget. This paper evaluates these current and developing satellite capabilities to observe the global fresh water budget, then looks forward to evaluate the potential for improvements that may result from future space missions as detailed by the US Decadal Survey, and operational plans. Based on these analyses, and on the goal of improved knowledge of the global fresh water budget under the effects of climate change, we suggest some priorities for the future, based on new approaches that may provide the improved measurements and the analyses needed to understand and observe the potential speed-up of the global water cycle under the effects of climate change.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Hildebrand, Peter
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Zaitchik, Benjamin
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
December 10, 2007
Subject Category
Meteorology And Climatology
Meeting Information
AGU Fall Meeting(California)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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