Geoid the Potsdam potato gravitational model, shows variations in Earth’s gravity.
Above: Geoid Potsdam Potato, is based on data from the LAGEOS, GRACE, and GOCE satellites and surface data. Credit: GFZ
The ESA mission GOCE (Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer) was launched in mid-March 2009 and has since been measuring the Earth’s gravitational field using satellite gradiometry – the study and measurement of variations in the acceleration due to gravity.
Geoid 2011, data based on satellite LAGEOS, GRACE and GOCE and surface data (airborne gravimetry and satellite altimetry). The improved resolution is partly due to a) Improved and new methods of satellite measurements SLR (LAGEOS, ERS), GPS (CHAMP), K-Band Ranging (GRACE), satellite gradiometry (GOCE) and b) Increased accuracy in the measurement of surface data (airborne gravimetry and satellite altimetry) as well as on the long-term data series.
Compared to the previous model obtained in 2005 (shown above), EIGEN-6C has a fourfold increase in spatial resolution.
Dr. Christoph Foerste who directs the gravity field work group at GFZ along with Dr. Frank Flechtner, said:
“Of particular importance is the inclusion of measurements from the satellite GOCE, from which the GFZ did its own calculation of the gravitational field.”
Dr. Flechtner, said:
“This allows the measurement of gravity in inaccessible regions with unprecedented accuracy, for example in Central Africa and the Himalayas.”
In addition, the GOCE satellites offers advantages when it comes to measuring the oceans.