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Title: Tracking the weight of Hurricane Harvey’s stormwater using GPS data

Abstract

On 26 August 2017, Hurricane Harvey struck the Gulf Coast as a category four cyclone depositing ~95 km 3 of water, making it the wettest cyclone in U.S. history. Water left in Harvey’s wake should cause elastic loading and subsidence of Earth’s crust, and uplift as it drains into the ocean and evaporates. To track daily changes of transient water storage, we use Global Positioning System (GPS) measurements, finding a clear migration of subsidence (up to 21 mm) and horizontal motion (up to 4 mm) across the Gulf Coast, followed by gradual uplift over a 5-week period. Inversion of these data shows that a third of Harvey’s total stormwater was captured on land (25.7 ± 3.0 km 3), indicating that the rest drained rapidly into the ocean at a rate of 8.2 km 3/day, with the remaining stored water gradually lost over the following 5 weeks at ~1 km 3/day, primarily by evapotranspiration. These results indicate that GPS networks can remotely track the spatial extent and daily evolution of terrestrial water storage following transient, extreme precipitation events, with implications for improving operational flood forecasts and understanding the response of drainage systems to large influxes of water.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [2]; ORCiD logo [3]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. California Inst. of Technology (CalTech), Pasadena, CA (United States). Jet Propulsion Lab.
  2. Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States). Department of Earth and Planetary Science
  3. Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH (United States). School of Earth, Environment and Society
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1479445
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-05CH11231
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Science Advances
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 4; Journal Issue: 9; Journal ID: ISSN 2375-2548
Publisher:
AAAS
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES

Citation Formats

Milliner, Chris, Materna, Kathryn, Bürgmann, Roland, Fu, Yuning, Moore, Angelyn W., Bekaert, David, Adhikari, Surendra, and Argus, Donald F. Tracking the weight of Hurricane Harvey’s stormwater using GPS data. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1126/sciadv.aau2477.
Milliner, Chris, Materna, Kathryn, Bürgmann, Roland, Fu, Yuning, Moore, Angelyn W., Bekaert, David, Adhikari, Surendra, & Argus, Donald F. Tracking the weight of Hurricane Harvey’s stormwater using GPS data. United States. doi:10.1126/sciadv.aau2477.
Milliner, Chris, Materna, Kathryn, Bürgmann, Roland, Fu, Yuning, Moore, Angelyn W., Bekaert, David, Adhikari, Surendra, and Argus, Donald F. Wed . "Tracking the weight of Hurricane Harvey’s stormwater using GPS data". United States. doi:10.1126/sciadv.aau2477. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1479445.
@article{osti_1479445,
title = {Tracking the weight of Hurricane Harvey’s stormwater using GPS data},
author = {Milliner, Chris and Materna, Kathryn and Bürgmann, Roland and Fu, Yuning and Moore, Angelyn W. and Bekaert, David and Adhikari, Surendra and Argus, Donald F.},
abstractNote = {On 26 August 2017, Hurricane Harvey struck the Gulf Coast as a category four cyclone depositing ~95 km3 of water, making it the wettest cyclone in U.S. history. Water left in Harvey’s wake should cause elastic loading and subsidence of Earth’s crust, and uplift as it drains into the ocean and evaporates. To track daily changes of transient water storage, we use Global Positioning System (GPS) measurements, finding a clear migration of subsidence (up to 21 mm) and horizontal motion (up to 4 mm) across the Gulf Coast, followed by gradual uplift over a 5-week period. Inversion of these data shows that a third of Harvey’s total stormwater was captured on land (25.7 ± 3.0 km3), indicating that the rest drained rapidly into the ocean at a rate of 8.2 km3/day, with the remaining stored water gradually lost over the following 5 weeks at ~1 km3/day, primarily by evapotranspiration. These results indicate that GPS networks can remotely track the spatial extent and daily evolution of terrestrial water storage following transient, extreme precipitation events, with implications for improving operational flood forecasts and understanding the response of drainage systems to large influxes of water.},
doi = {10.1126/sciadv.aau2477},
journal = {Science Advances},
number = 9,
volume = 4,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {9}
}

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