G4.2Satellite Gravimetry: GRACE, GOCE and Future Gravity Missions
|Convener: F. Flechtner | Co-Conveners: T. Gruber , T. Mayer-Guerr , R. Biancale (deceased)|
The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) has already celebrated its 10th anniversary on 17 March 2012. Just recently the GRACE Science Data System has reprocessed nearly the complete mission data with updated processing standards and background models. These improved long-term time series of time variable gravity field models offers the opportunity to observe mass transport in the Earth system such as the continental hydrological cycle or ice mass loss in Polar Regions with higher accuracy.
The Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) currently is in extended mission phase, which lasts until December 2012. It has delivered during the last three years long-time series of highly accurate gradiometer and satellite-to-satellite tracking data, which are the basis for static GOCE-only and combined static gravity field solutions to be used for various analyses in oceanography, geophysics or geodesy.
The lifetime of both missions is already longer than expected and the data acquisition will likely end at some time in near future. The great success of GRACE and GOCE, both providing indispensable data for climate research studies, clearly shows that also in the future gravity and its variability has to be monitored from space.
Therefore, various initiatives are ongoing to prepare for future gravity mission: Simulation studies have been performed, mission requirements have been defined and potential measurement equipments and orbit scenarios have been investigated. Most promising to be realized seems the US/German GRACE-Follow-on mission with an anticipated launch date in 2016/17.
This session solicits contributions about (1) results from the GRACE and GOCE missions in terms of data analyses and Earth science applications, (2) combination and synergies of GRACE and GOCE targeting on combined gravity field solutions, and (3) status and study results of future gravity field missions.