Estimation of the terrestrial water budget over Northern Eurasia through the use of multiple data sources

Tara J. Troy, Justin Sheffield, Eric F. Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Northern Eurasia has experienced significant change in its hydrology during the past century. Much of the literature has focused on documenting and understanding the trends rather than documenting the uncertainty that exists in current estimates of the mean hydroclimatology. This study quantifies the terrestrial water budget with reanalysis, hydrologic modeling, remote sensing, and in situ observations and shows there is significant uncertainty in the estimates of precipitation, evapotranspiration, runoff, and terrestrial water storage changes. The spread among the various datasets highlights the scientific community's inability to accurately characterize the hydroclimatology of this region, which is problematic because much attention has focused on hydrologic trends using these datasets. The largest relative differences among estimates exist in the terrestrial storage change, which also is the least studied variable. Seasonally, the spread in estimates relative to the mean is largest in winter, when uncertainty in cold-season processes and measurements causes large differences in the estimates. A methodology is developed that takes advantage of multiple sources of data and observed discharge to improve estimates of precipitation, evapotranspiration, and storage changes. The method also provides a framework to evaluate the errors in datasets for variables that have no large-scale in situ measurements, such as evapotranspiration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3272-3293
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Climate
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science


  • Databases
  • Evapotranspiration
  • Precipitation
  • Water budget
  • Winter/cool season


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