EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Closed Loop Simulations on Recoverability of Climate-Related Mass Transport Signals in Current and Next-Generation Satellite Gravity Missions

Marius Schlaak1, Roland Pail1, Laura Jensen2, and Annette Eicker2
Marius Schlaak et al.
  • 1Technical University of Munich, School of Engineering and Design, Astronomical and Physical Geodesy , Germany
  • 2HafenCity University, Geodesy and Geoinformatics, Hamburg, Germany

Satellite gravity missions are unique observation systems to directly observe mass transport processes in the Earth system. Since 2000, CHAMP, GRACE, GOCE, and GRACE-FO have almost continuously been observing Earth’s mass changes and have improved our understanding of large-scale processes such as the global water cycle, melting of continental ice sheets and mountain glaciers, changes in ocean mass that are closely related to the mass-related component of sea-level rise, which are subtle indicators of climate change, on global to regional scale. The existing observation record of more than two decades is already closing in on the minimum time series of 30 years needed to decouple natural and anthropogenic forcing mechanisms according to the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS).

Next Generation Gravity Missions (NGGMs) are expected to be implemented in the near future to continue the observation record. The Mass-change And Geoscience International Constellation (acronym: MAGIC) is a joint investigation of ESA with NASA’s MCDO study resulting in a jointly accorded Mission Requirements Document (MRD) responding to global user community needs. These NGGM concepts have set high anticipation for enhanced monitoring capabilities of mass transports in the Earth’s system with significantly improved spatial and temporal resolution. They will allow an evaluation of long-term trends within the Terrestrial Water Storage (TWS), which was adopted as a new Essential Climate Variable in 2020.

This study is based on modeled mass transport time series of components of the TWS, obtained from future climate projections until the year 2100 following the shared socio-economic pathway scenario 5-8.5 (SSP5-8.5). It evaluates the recoverability of long-term climate trends, annual amplitude, and phase of the TWS employing closed-loop numerical simulations of different current and NGGM concepts up to a spatial resolution of 250 km (Spherical Harmonic Degree 80). The assumed satellite constellations are GRACE-type in-line single-pair missions and Bender double-pair missions with realistic noise assumptions for the key payload and ocean-tide background model errors. In the interpretation and discussion of the results, special emphasis will be given on the dependence of the length of the measurement time series and the quantification of the robustness of the derived trends, systematic changes, as well as possibilities to improve the trend parameterization.

How to cite: Schlaak, M., Pail, R., Jensen, L., and Eicker, A.: Closed Loop Simulations on Recoverability of Climate-Related Mass Transport Signals in Current and Next-Generation Satellite Gravity Missions, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-8529,, 2022.


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