Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Ongoing drought-induced uplift in the western United States.

January 1, 2014

The western United States has been experiencing severe drought since 2013. The solid earth response to the accompanying loss of surface and near-surface water mass should be a broad region of uplift. We use seasonally adjusted time series from continuously operating global positioning system stations to measure this uplift, which we invert to estimate mass loss. The median uplift is 5 millimeters (mm), with values up to 15 mm in California’s mountains. The associated pattern of mass loss, ranging up to 50 centimeters (cm) of water equivalent, is consistent with observed decreases in precipitation and streamflow. We estimate the total deficit to be ~240 gigatons, equivalent to a 10-cm layer of water over the entire region, or the annual mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet.

Publication Year 2014
Title Ongoing drought-induced uplift in the western United States.
DOI 10.1126/science.1260279
Authors Adrian Antal Borsa, Duncan Carr Agnew, Daniel R. Cayan
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Science
Index ID 70159671
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization National Research Program - Western Branch