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Advances in Meteorology
Volume 2016, Article ID 4364738, 13 pages
Research Article

Terrestrial Water Storage Changes of Permafrost in the Three-River Source Region of the Tibetan Plateau, China

1State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Science, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000, China
2CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China

Received 11 October 2015; Revised 16 December 2015; Accepted 19 January 2016

Academic Editor: Rogier Van Der Velde

Copyright © 2016 Min Xu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Changes in permafrost influence water balance exchanges in watersheds of cryosphere. Water storage change (WSC) is an important factor in water cycle. We used Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite data to retrieve WSC in the Three-River Source Region and subregions. WSC in four types of permafrost (continuous, seasonal, island, and patchy permafrost) was analyzed during 2003–2010. The result showed that WSC had significant change; it increased by  mm/a () over the Three-River Source Region during the study period. The most significant changes of WSC were in continuous permafrost zone, with a total amount of about . The spatial distribution of WSC was in state of gain in the continuous permafrost zone, whereas it was in a state of loss in the other permafrost zones. Little changes of precipitation and runoff occurred in study area, but the WSC increased significantly, according to water balance equation, the changes of runoff and water storage were subtracted from changes of precipitation, and the result showed that changes of evaporation is minus which means the evaporation decreased in the Three-River Source Region during 2003–2010.