National Aeronautics and Space Administration

National Climate Assessment

NASA National Climate Assessment (NCA) Activities

NASA Centers Call for Proposals

National Climate Assessment - 2011 NASA Centers Call For Proposals

Lead PI and Center: Michael Jasinski, Goddard Space Flight Center
Title:  An Integrated Terrestrial Water Analysis System for the NCA
Proposal Type: Enabling Tools
Project Website:

This proposal leverages NASA Earth Sciences Division and other agency investments in several recent projects at GSFC. These projects have separately demonstrated the value of assimilating AMSR-E based soil moisture; GRACE-based terrestrial water storage (TWS); MODIS-based estimates of irrigation intensity; MODIS-based estimates of Snow Covered Area (SCA); and AMSR-E-based estimates of Snow Water Equivalent (SWE).

Proposed Effort:
In this project, we will consolidate all of the above capabilities in LIS and provide a multi-model terrestrial water analysis from 1979- present based on the North American Land Data Assimilation System atmospheric inputs.

The objectives of this proposal are

  1. to consolidate and deliver the water analysis capabilities of the Land Information System (LIS) software to support an Integrated Terrestrial Water Analysis, known as NCA-LDAS;
  2. to develop and evaluate indicators for water storages and fluxes including snow, evapotranspiration, soil moisture, and discharge using NCA-LDAS output, in situ data, and NASA’s satellite derived products.
  3. Prototype indicators for the United States for the period 1979 to present will be compared to long-term global indicators, to understand how national trends relate to global trends.

The proposed work will consist of the following four sub-tasks:

  1. Synthesis and analysis of water availability Environmental Data Records (EDRs) from 1979-present for North America.
  2. Assimilation of multiple water availability EDRs into the Land Information System for North America from 1979-present to develop an NCA-LDAS.
  3. Evaluation of the NCALDAS results, including water budget statistics, trends and synthesis; and
  4. Development of water availability indicators from land surface water storage and flux data bases, including snow, soil moisture, evapotranspiration, streamflow and surface temperature.

The hypothesis to be tested in this proposal is that assimilating NASA’s satellite soil moisture, SWE, SCA, TWS and irrigation products into an NCA-LDAS will produce improved characterization of the continental scale water budget, which will directly improve the monitoring and prediction of climate-relevant water availability indicators, including droughts and floods. Specific science questions to be addressed include:

  1. How have North American water storages and fluxes evolved in the satellite era?
  2. Which global indicators help us understand North American impacts?
  3. What are key hydrologic indicators that encapsulate these impacts?
  4. How have the relationships among hydrologic fluxes and states changed?
  • Snowpack-streamflow-flood anomalies?
  • Groundwater-soil moisture-evapotranspiration-drought anomalies?
  • Irrigation impacts?