01 Dec 2011:
Southern U.S. Groundwater
Dips To Record Low Levels, NASA Map Shows
A new map released by U.S. scientists illustrates a steep drop in groundwater levels across much of Texas
and other southern states following record-breaking drought conditions. Using groundwater calculations based on satellite observations and other meteorological data, scientists at NASA’s Goddard
Space Flight Center and the University of Nebraska have shown that ground moisture in some regions of the U.S. — including much of Texas — has dipped to levels significantly lower than the long-term average since 1948, when levels of soil moisture and groundwater were first recorded. In eastern Texas, for instance, the ground has been as dry as it currently is only 2 percent of the time over the last 63 years. According to scientists, groundwater supplies are “extremely depleted” across more than half of Texas and parts of New Mexico, Louisiana, Alabama, and Georgia. The map is based on data from the twin satellites of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), which detects small changes in Earth’s gravity field that are caused by the redistribution of water on and beneath the land surface.
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