Hydrology Applications of the GRACE missions

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Margaret M Srinivasan1, Erik R Ivins1 and Michael F Jasinski2, (1)Caltech/JPL, Pasadena, CA, United States, (2)NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr, Greenbelt, MD, United States
NASA and their German space agency partners have a rich history of global gravity observations beginning with the launch of the Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment (GRACE) in 2002. The science goals of the mission include providing monthly maps of variations in the gravity field, where the major time-varying signal is due to water motion in the Earth system. GRACE has a unique ability to observe the mass flux of water movement at monthly time scales. The hydrology applications of the GRACE mission include measurements of seasonal storage of surface and subsurface water and evapotranspiration at the land-ocean-atmosphere boundary. These variables are invaluable for improved modeling and prediction of Earth system processes. Other mission-critical science objectives include measurements that are a key component of NASA’s ongoing climate measuring capabilities.

Successful strategies to enhance science and practical applications of the proposed GRACE-Follow On (GRACE-FO) mission, scheduled to launch in 2017, will require engaging with and facilitating between representatives in the science, societal applications, and mission planning communities. NASA’s Applied Sciences Program is supporting collaboration on an applied approach to identifying communities of potential and of practice in order to identify and promote the societal benefits of these and future gravity missions. The objective is to engage applications-oriented users and organizations and enable them to envision possible applications and end-user needs as a way to increase the benefits of these missions to the nations.

The focus of activities for this applications program include; engaging the science community in order to identify applications and current and potential data users, developing a written Applications Plan, conducting workshops and user tutorials, providing ready access to information via web pages, developing databases of key and interested users/scientists, creating printed materials (posters, brochures) that identify key capabilities and applications of the missions and data, and participation in key science meetings and decision support processes.