Benefits of GRACE and GOCE to Sea Level Studies

  • Philip L. Woodworth
  • Jonathan M. Gregory
Part of the Space Sciences Series of ISSI book series (SSSI, volume 17)


The recently published Third Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have underlined the scientific interest in, and practical importance of, pasi and potential future sea level changes. Space gravity missions will provide major benefits to the understanding of the past, and, thereby, in the prediction of future. sea level changes in many ways. The proposal for the GOCE mission described well the improvements to be expected from improved gravity field and geoid models in oceanography (for example, in the measurement of the time-averaged, or ‘steady state’, ocean surface circulation and better estimation of ocean transports). in geophysics (in the improvement of geodynamic models for vertical land movements), in geodesy (in positioning of tide gauge data into the same reference frame as altimeter data. and in improvement of altimeter satellite orbits), and possibly in glaciology (in improved knowledge of bedrock topography and ice sheet mass fluxes). GRACE will make many important steps towards these ‘steady state’ aims. However, its main purpose is the provision of oceanographic (and hydrological and meteorological) temporally-varying gravity information, and should in effect function as a glohal ‘bottom pressure recorder’, providing further insight into the 3-D temporal variation of the ocean circulation, and of the global water budget in general. This paper summaries several of these issues, pointing the way towards improved accuracy of prediction of future sea level change.


Tide Gauge Geoid Model Glacial Isostatic Adjustment Tide Gauge Record Terrestrial Water Storage 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip L. Woodworth
    • 1
  • Jonathan M. Gregory
    • 2
  1. 1.Proudman Oceanographic LaboratoryBidston ObservatoryBirkenheadUK
  2. 2.Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and ResearchBracknellUK

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