Earth, Planets and Space

, Volume 57, Issue 4, pp 291–295 | Cite as

A simulation study of effects of GRACE orbit decay on the gravity field recovery

  • Keiko Yamamoto
  • Toshimichi Otsubo
  • Toshihiro Kubo-oka
  • Yoichi Fukuda
Open Access


The effects of satellite ground track changes of GRACE on monthly gravity field recoveries are investigated. In the case of a gravity field recovery using a relatively short period of a month or so, the variation of ground tracks affects the precision of the gravity field solutions. It is a serious problem when the solutions are employed for detecting temporal gravity changes which are almost at their detection limits. In this study, the recoveries of four-weekly gravity fields are simulated and the relation between the recovery precision and the ground track is investigated. The result shows that the GRACE ground track of the year 2003 was in good condition for four-week gravity field recovery, but it will sometimes appear as worse cases as the orbit altitude decays. In those cases, the global standard deviations of geoid height errors will be about one order worse than the best case. From our simulation, ground tracks of around altitudes of 473, 448, 399, 350 and 337 km give insufficient spatial resolutions, even for gravity field recovery up to degree 30.

Key words

Satellite gravity mission GRACE gravity field satellite orbit 


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Copyright information

© The Society of Geomagnetism and Earth, Planetary and Space Sciences (SGEPSS); The Seismological Society of Japan; The Volcanological Society of Japan; The Geodetic Society of Japan; The Japanese Society for Planetary Sciences. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Keiko Yamamoto
    • 1
  • Toshimichi Otsubo
    • 2
  • Toshihiro Kubo-oka
    • 2
  • Yoichi Fukuda
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geophysics, Graduate School of ScienceKyoto UniversitySakyo-ku KyotoJapan
  2. 2.National Institute of Information and Communications TechnologyKashima IbarakiJapan

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