G4.2Satellite Gravimetry: GRACE, GOCE and Future Gravity Missions
|Convener: Frank Flechtner | Co-Conveners: Thomas Gruber , Richard Biancale (deceased), Torsten Mayer-Guerr|
The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) has already celebrated its 11th anniversary on 17 March 2013. During the last year the GRACE Science Data System has reprocessed 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, surface and deep ocean currents or ice mass loss in Polar Regions with higher accuracy.
The Gravity field and steady-state Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) has completed its extended mission operation phase and its orbit height has recently been lowered by 20 km for the final measurement phase until the end of the mission to be expected in late 2013. It has delivered during the last four 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. In addition, at the lower altitude with higher sensitivity to gravity the mission offers new opportunities for gravity field analysis and applications.
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 is the US/German GRACE-Follow-on mission which is currently in Phase B with an anticipated launch date in August 2017.
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.