EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Geodesy: a sensor for hydrology 

Kristel Chanard
Kristel Chanard
  • IPGP, Geodesy, Paris, France (

Understanding how the Earth’s shape, gravity field and rotation change in response to shifting hydrological, atmospherical and oceanic mass loads at its surface has great potential for monitoring the evolving climate. Recent advances in the field, namely hydrogeodesy, have required hand-in-hand development and improvement of the observing techniques and of our understanding of the solid Earth-climate interactions. 

In particular, measurement of the spatial and temporal variations of the Earth's gravity field by the GRACE and GRACE-Follow On satellite missions offer an unprecedented measurement of the evolution of water mass redistribution, at timescales ranging from months to decades. However, the use of GRACE and GRACE-FO data for hydrological applications presents two major difficulties. First, the mission design and data processing lead to measurement noise and errors that limit GRACE missions to large-scale applications and complicates geophysical interpretation. Moreover, temporal observational gaps, including the 11 month-long gap between missions, prevent the interpretation of long-term mass variations. Secondly, disentangling sources of signals from the solid Earth and continental hydrology is challenging and requires to develop methods benefiting from multiple geodetic techniques. 

To reduce noise and enhance geophysical signals in the data, we develop a method based on a spectral analysis by Multiple Singular Spectrum Analysis (M-SSA) which, using the spatio-temporal correlations of the GRACE-GRACE-FO time series, can fill observational gaps and remove a significant portion of the distinctive noise pattern while maintaining the best possible spatial resolution. This processing reveals hydrological signals that are less well or not resolved by other processing strategies. We discuss regional hydrological mass balance, including lakes, aquifers and ice caps regions, derived from the GRACE-GRACE-FO M-SSA solution. Furthermore, we discuss methods to separate sources of gravity variations using additional in-situ hydrological data or geodetic measurements of the Earth’s deformation. 

How to cite: Chanard, K.: Geodesy: a sensor for hydrology , EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-12642,, 2022.