Monitoring Mass Variations in Iraq Using Time-Variable Gravity Data

Abdullah Othman, Ahmed Abdelrady*, Ahmed Mohamed

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Downloads (Pure)


Iraq is facing a water shortage due to water scarcity and anthropogenic activities. The recent advance in technologies in geophysical methods has made groundwater monitoring possible. Time-variable gravity data and outputs of the climatic model, as well as rainfall data, are integrated to investigate the spatio-temporal mass variations caused by groundwater changes over Iraq. The findings are: (1) For the entire study period (04/2002–12/2020), Period I (04/2002–12/2006), Period II (01/2007–12/2017), and Period III (01/2018–12/2020), the study region had an average annual precipitation rate of 223.4, 252.5, 194.2, and 311.6 mm/y, respectively. (2) The average Terrestrial Water Storage variations (ΔTWSs) varied from −5.79 ± 0.70 to −5.11 ± 0.70 mm/y based on the three different gravity solutions with a mean of −5.51 ± 0.68 mm/y for the entire investigated period. (3) For Periods I, II, and III, the average ΔTWS fluctuation was calculated to be +6.82 ± 1.92, −6.20 ± 1.17, and +28.58 ± 12.78 mm/y, respectively. (4) During the entire period, Periods I, II, and II, the groundwater fluctuation was averaged at −4.86 ± 0.68, +2.47 ± 2.20, −3.79 ± 1.20, and −4.63 ± 12.99 mm/y, respectively, after subtracting the non-groundwater components. (5) At the beginning of the 2007 drought during Period II, a decline in rainfall rate, and significant groundwater withdrawal during Period III all appear to have contributed to groundwater depletion. The Euphrates and Tigris Rivers, as well as the Mesopotamian plain, receive water from the running streams created by the ground relief. The area of the Mesopotamian plain, which has a thicker sedimentary sequence that can reach 9000 m, is found to have a positive TWS signal, indicating that its groundwater potential is higher. The integrated approach is informative and cost-effective.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3346
Number of pages22
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Iraq
  • time-variable gravity
  • mass variations
  • precipitation groundwater


Dive into the research topics of 'Monitoring Mass Variations in Iraq Using Time-Variable Gravity Data'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this