Cumulative total freshwater losses in the United States from 2002 to 2015 (in inches) observed by NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission. Total water refers to all of the snow, surface water, soil water and groundwater combined. Much of the northern half of the country experienced increasing total water storage during this time period, while total water storage in the southern half decline. Areas where groundwater depletion strongly impacted total water losses include California's Central Valley, and the southern High Plains aquifer beneath the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles. Total water storage in the Upper Missouri River basin increased signficantly and contributed to considerable flooding during the 2002-15 time period. Image updated from Famiglietti and Rodell, 2013.
Citation of Record: Famiglietti, J. S., and M. Rodell, Water in the Balance, Science, 340, 1300-1301.
GRACE is a collaborative endeavor involving the Center for Space Research at the University of Texas, Austin; NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.; the German Space Agency and Germany's National Research Center for Geosciences, Potsdam.