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Estimation of total water storage changes in India

, Venkataraman Lakshmi
International Journal of Digital Earth pp 1-22; doi:10.1080/17538947.2021.1914759

Abstract: Long-term droughts significantly impact surface and groundwater resources in India, however, observed changes in major river basins have not been well explored. Here we use Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) and Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) at three different time scales (24, 48, and 60 months) to identify long-term droughts in India for the observed record of 1951–2015. Drought characteristics (extent, events, frequency, and intensity) are analyzed for different river basins in India. Increasing trend in the areal extent of droughts is observed in two methods with three time scales in the maximum area (63.66%) in India. We use the data from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) to estimate the changes in the terrestrial water storage (TWS) during the period 2002–2015. We identify that major long-term droughts in India occurred from 1966 to 1969, 1972, 1986–1987, and 2002–2004. The all-India average TWS shows a negative trend from 2002 to 2015 with prominent decline in north Indian river basins and positive trend in south Indian river basins. SPI and SPEI at longer time scales are positively associated with TWS indicating the adverse impacts of droughts on surface and groundwater resources in such a populated region.
Keywords: Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) / Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) / the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) / terrestrial water storage anomaly (TWSA)

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