An improved GRACE monthly gravity field solution by modeling the non-conservative acceleration and attitude observation errors

Qiujie Chen, Yunzhong Shen, Wu Chen, Xingfu Zhang, Houze Hsu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


The main contribution of this study is to improve the GRACE gravity field solution by taking errors of non-conservative acceleration and attitude observations into account. Unlike previous studies, the errors of the attitude and non-conservative acceleration data, and gravity field parameters, as well as accelerometer biases are estimated by means of weighted least squares adjustment. Then we compute a new time series of monthly gravity field models complete to degree and order 60 covering the period Jan. 2003 to Dec. 2012 from the twin GRACE satellites’ data. The derived GRACE solution (called Tongji-GRACE02) is compared in terms of geoid degree variances and temporal mass changes with the other GRACE solutions, namely CSR RL05, GFZ RL05a, and JPL RL05. The results show that (1) the global mass signals of Tongji-GRACE02 are generally consistent with those of CSR RL05, GFZ RL05a, and JPL RL05; (2) compared to CSR RL05, the noise of Tongji-GRACE02 is reduced by about 21 % over ocean when only using 300 km Gaussian smoothing, and 60 % or more over deserts (Australia, Kalahari, Karakum and Thar) without using Gaussian smoothing and decorrelation filtering; and (3) for all examples, the noise reductions are more significant than signal reductions, no matter whether smoothing and filtering are applied or not. The comparison with GLDAS data supports that the signals of Tongji-GRACE02 over St. Lawrence River basin are close to those from CSR RL05, GFZ RL05a and JPL RL05, while the GLDAS result shows the best agreement with the Tongji-GRACE02 result.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)503-523
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Geodesy
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016


  • Monthly gravity field model
  • Non-conservative acceleration
  • Satellite geodesy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Computers in Earth Sciences

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