In the global water cycle, terrestrial water storage is the link between atmosphere and ocean. Global changes in terrestrial water storage can be observed by satellite-based gravity measurements. Terrestrial water storage variations are also largely responsible for Earth rotation variations on seasonal time scales.
The Land Surface Discharge Model (LSDM) simulates globally the vertical and lateral water transport and storage on land surfaces. Physics and parametrization are based on the Hydrological Discharge Model (HDM) and the Simplified Land Surface Scheme (SLS; Hagemann und Dümenil, 1998, 2003). Forced by precipitation, evaporation and temperature the hydrological model LSDM captures the most important continental water mass transport processes and storage compartements (soil moisture, snow, rivers and lakes, runoff, drainage).
The separation of individual storage compartements by the LSDM model is necessary to analyze and interpret the integral observables from gravity missions and Earth rotation observations.