Time variable Earth’s gravity field from SLR satellites

Sosnica, Krzysztof Jakub; Jäggi, Adrian; Meyer, Ulrich; Thaller, Daniela; Beutler, Gerhard; Arnold, Daniel; Dach, Rolf (2015). Time variable Earth’s gravity field from SLR satellites. Journal of geodesy, 89(10), pp. 945-960. Springer 10.1007/s00190-015-0825-1

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The time variable Earth’s gravity field contains information about the mass transport within the system Earth, i.e., the relationship between mass variations in the atmosphere, oceans, land hydrology, and ice sheets. For many years, satellite laser ranging (SLR) observations to geodetic satellites have provided valuable information of the low-degree coefficients of the Earth’s gravity field. Today, the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission is the major source of information for the time variable field of a high spatial resolution. We recover the low-degree coefficients of the time variable Earth’s gravity field using SLR observations up to nine geodetic satellites: LAGEOS-1, LAGEOS-2, Starlette, Stella, AJISAI, LARES, Larets, BLITS, and Beacon-C. We estimate monthly gravity field coefficients up to degree and order 10/10 for the time span 2003–2013 and we compare the results with the GRACE-derived gravity field coefficients. We show that not only degree-2 gravity field coefficients can be well determined from SLR, but also other coefficients up to degree 10 using the combination of short 1-day arcs for low orbiting satellites and 10-day arcs for LAGEOS-1/2. In this way, LAGEOS-1/2 allow recovering zonal terms, which are associated with long-term satellite orbit perturbations, whereas the tesseral and sectorial terms benefit most from low orbiting satellites, whose orbit modeling deficiencies are minimized due to short 1-day arcs. The amplitudes of the annual signal in the low-degree gravity field coefficients derived from SLR agree with GRACE K-band results at a level of 77 %. This implies that SLR has a great potential to fill the gap between the current GRACE and the future GRACE Follow-On mission for recovering of the seasonal variations and secular trends of the longest wavelengths in gravity field, which are associated with the large-scale mass transport in the system Earth.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Further Contribution)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Astronomy
08 Faculty of Science > Other Institutions > Emeriti, Faculty of Science

UniBE Contributor:

Sosnica, Krzysztof Jakub, Jäggi, Adrian, Meyer, Ulrich, Thaller, Daniela, Beutler, Gerhard, Arnold, Daniel, Dach, Rolf


500 Science > 520 Astronomy








Pierre Fridez

Date Deposited:

09 Jun 2015 08:51

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:47

Publisher DOI:






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