An Improved GPS-Inferred Seasonal Terrestrial Water Storage Using Terrain-Corrected Vertical Crustal Displacements Constrained by GRACE
Based on a geophysical model for elastic loading, the application potential of Global Positioning System (GPS) vertical crustal displacements for inverting terrestrial water storage has been demonstrated using the Tikhonov regularization and the Helmert variance component estimation since 2014. However, the GPS-inferred terrestrial water storage has larger resulting amplitudes than those inferred from satellite gravimetry (i.e., Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE)) and those simulated from hydrological models (e.g., Global Land Data Assimilation System (GLDAS)). We speculate that the enlarged amplitudes should be partly due to irregularly distributed GPS stations and the neglect of the terrain effect. Within southwest China, covering part of southeastern Tibet as a study region, a novel GPS-inferred terrestrial water storage approach is proposed via terrain-corrected GPS and supplementary vertical crustal displacements inferred from GRACE, serving as "virtual GPS stations" for constraining the inversion. Compared to the Tikhonov regularization and Helmert variance component estimation, we employ Akaike's Bayesian Information Criterion as an inverse method to prove the effectiveness of our solution. Our results indicate that the combined application of the terrain-corrected GPS vertical crustal displacements and supplementary GRACE spatial data constraints improves the inversion accuracy of the GPS-inferred terrestrial water storage from the Helmert variance component estimation, Tikhonov regularization, and Akaike's Bayesian Information Criterion, by 55%, 33%, and 41%, respectively, when compared to that of the GLDAS-modeled terrestrial water storage. The solution inverted with Akaike's Bayesian Information Criterion exhibits more stability regardless of the constraint conditions, when compared to those of other inferred solutions. The best Akaike's Bayesian Information Criterion inverted solution agrees well with the GLDAS-modeled one, with a root-mean-square error (RMSE) of 3.75 cm, equivalent to a 15.6% relative error, when compared to 39.4% obtained in previous studies. The remaining discrepancy might be due to the difference between GPS and GRACE in sensing different surface water storage components, the remaining effect of the water storage changes in rivers and reservoirs, and the internal error in the geophysical model for elastic loading.