Continuous GPS observations of crustal loading from hydrometeorological events on the scale of storms to drought

Thursday, 17 December 2015: 11:35
309 (Moscone South)
Adrian A Borsa1, Daniel R Cayan2 and Duncan Carr Agnew2, (1)Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA, United States, (2)University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA, United States
Recent studies using continuous GPS to estimate changes in terrestrial water storage point to a future where the global GPS infrastructure for monitoring crustal deformation can be leveraged for hydrological applications. Seasonal water and snow loading has long been known to generate an elastic earth response that is observable by GPS, but only recently have these signals been modeled to recover the underlying loads at local and regional scales. It has also been shown that GPS can be used to monitor subtle surface deformation due to the response of the hydrological system to drought, and to estimate the magnitude and spatial distribution of related water loss. In this work, we extend the temporal range of the analysis from drought-focused interannual signals to event-scale loading from individual storms and show the promise and challenges of applying GPS observations to these new higher-frequency hydrometeorological phenomena. We also estimate the magnitude and distribution of surface water fluctuations from recent extreme precipitation events in the continental USA and show how GPS might be used to better characterize the accompanying water storage changes and potential hydrometerological hazards.