Earth  ID: 4134

Groundwater Depletion in India Revealed by GRACE -Extended

Scientists using data from NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) have found that the groundwater beneath Northern India has been receding by as much as one foot per year over the past decade. After examining many environmental and climate factors, the team of hydrologists led by Matt Rodell of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. concluded that the loss is almost entirely due to human consumption.

Groundwater comes from the natural percolation of precipitation and other surface waters down through Earth's soil and rock, accumulating in aquifers - cavities and layers of porous rock, gravel, sand, or clay. In some subterranean reservoirs, the water may be thousands to millions of years old; in others, water levels decline and rise again naturally each year. Groundwater levels do not respond to changes in weather as rapidly as lakes, streams, and rivers do. So when groundwater is pumped for irrigation or other uses, recharge to the original levels can take months or years.

The animation shown here depicts the change in groundwater levels with respect to the 2003-2009 mean, as measured each month from January 2003 to June 2013.

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NASA Earth Observatory

Visualization Credits

Trent L. Schindler (UMBC): Lead Animator
Matthew Rodell (NASA/GSFC): Scientist
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

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Data Used:
Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE)
Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details nor the data sets themselves on our site.

Dates of Data Used:
2003 -2013

SVS >> Population growth
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Human Dimensions >> Environmental Impacts >> Urbanization
GCMD >> Location >> India
SVS >> Hyperwall
SVS >> Copenhagen
SVS >> For Educators
SVS >> Hydrosphere >> Ice
SVS >> Ground Water Levels
SVS >> Human Geography
NASA Science >> Earth

GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation: Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version