Cumulative total freshwater losses in North Africa and the Middle East from 2002 to 2015 (in inches) observed by NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission. Total water refers to all of the snow, surface water, soil water and groundwater combined. Groundwater depletion in Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran, and along the Arabian Peninsula, are leading to large changes in total water storage in the region. Likewise, drought and groundwater pumping is contributing to the drying of the Caspian Sea Region. The Northwest Sahara Aquifer System, which underlies Tunisia and Libya, is also experiencing increasing water stress as shown in the map. Image updated from Voss et al., 2013.
Citation of Record: Voss, K. A., J. S. Famiglietti, M. Lo, C. R. de Linage, M. Rodell and S. C. Swenson, Groundwater depletion in the Middle East from GRACE with Implications for Transboundary Water Management in the Tigris-Euphrates-Western Iran Region, Wat. Resour. Res., 49(2), 904-914, DOI: 10.1002/wrcr.20078.
GRACE is a collaborative endeavor involving the Center for Space Research at the University of Texas, Austin; NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.; the German Space Agency and Germany's National Research Center for Geosciences, Potsdam.