Satellite Technology Monitors Groundwater Levels

September 06, 2013

GRACE project uses satellites to locate areas of groundwater scarcity

As part of World Water Week, Betsy Otto and Charles Iceland of the World Resources Institute (WRI) co-hosted a session on satellite and sensing technology in managing water resources. NASA, Pacific Institute, University of California-Irvine, Skoll Global Threats Fund and Royal Dutch Shell also participated in the session, which took place Thursday Sept. 5, 2013.

In a blog on the WRI website, Andrew Maddocks outlined the importance of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), in which two satellites circle Earth monitoring changes in groundwater level for the last 11 years.

According to Maddocks, the two satellites are always 106 to 193 miles apart and move up and down according to the amount of mass on Earth below it. The greater the mass, the farther down the satellite will move. When orbiting a water-scarce region, the satellites will move away from the Earth. The movements are monitored by researchers who detect and map global water risks.

To read the full blog, click here.

World Resources Institute

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