Journal of Arid Land

Article Title

Estimation of water balance in the source region of the Yellow River based on GRACE satellite data


Water storage has important significance for understanding water cycles of global and local domains and for monitoring climate and environmental changes. As a key variable in hydrology, water storage change represents the sum of precipitation, evaporation, surface runoff, soil water and groundwater exchanges. Water storage change data during the period of 2003–2008 for the source region of the Yellow River were collected from Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite data. The monthly actual evaporation was estimated according to the water balance equation. The simulated actual evaporation was significantly consistent and correlative with not only the observed pan (20 cm) data, but also the simulated results of the version 2 of Simple Biosphere model. The average annual evaporation of the Tangnaihai Basin was 506.4 mm, where evaporation in spring, summer, autumn and winter was 130.9 mm, 275.2 mm, 74.3 mm and 26.1 mm, and accounted for 25.8%, 54.3%, 14.7% and 5.2% of the average annual evaporation, respectively. The precipitation increased slightly and the actual evaporation showed an obvious decrease. The water storage change of the source region of the Yellow River displayed an increase of 0.51 mm per month from 2003 to 2008, which indicated that the storage capacity has significantly increased, probably caused by the degradation of permafrost and the increase of the thickness of active layers. The decline of actual evaporation and the increase of water storage capacity resulted in the increase of river runoff.


actual evaporation; GRACE satellite data; water storage change; water balance equation; source region of the Yellow River

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