Observing global terrestrial water storage changes (TWSCs) from (inter-)seasonal to (multi-)decade time-scales is very important to understand the Earth as a system under natural and anthropogenic climate change. The primary goal of the Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite mission (2002–2017) and its follow-on mission (GRACE-FO, 2018–onward) is to provide time-variable gravity fields, which can be converted to TWSCs with ∼300 km spatial resolution; however, the one year data gap between GRACE and GRACE-FO represents a critical discontinuity, which cannot be replaced by alternative data or model with the same quality. To fill this gap, we applied time-variable gravity fields (2013–onward) from the Swarm Earth explorer mission with low spatial resolution of ∼1500 km. A novel iterative reconstruction approach was formulated based on the independent component analysis (ICA) that combines the GRACE and Swarm fields. The reconstructed TWSC fields of 2003–2018 were compared with a commonly applied reconstruction technique and GRACE-FO TWSC fields, whose results indicate a considerable noise reduction and long-term consistency improvement of the iterative ICA reconstruction technique. They were applied to evaluate trends and seasonal mass changes (of 2003–2018) within the world’s 33 largest river basins.
- Data reconstruction
- Independent component analysis (ICA)
- Iterative ICA reconstruction
- Trends of mass changes
- World river basins