Preliminary observations of global ocean mass variations with GRACE

Edited: 2011-02-21
TitlePreliminary observations of global ocean mass variations with GRACE
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsChambers, D., J. M. Wahr, and R. S. Nerem
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Date Published07/2004
Keywordsclimate, grace, sea_level
AbstractMonthly estimates of the Earth's gravitational field from the GRACE mission are used to construct a time-series of global mean ocean mass variations between August 2002 and December 2003. This time-series is compared to a mean climatology determined from satellite altimeter measurements of global mean sea level corrected for the steric variation. The GRACE observations show a seasonal exchange of water mass with the continents of the same magnitude (~8.5 mm) and phase (maximum in early- to mid-October) as the steric-corrected altimetry. This is one of the first direct validations over the ocean of the primary GRACE science mission to measure time-variable transports of water mass in the Earth system, and it suggests that GRACE data can be used to measure non-steric mean sea level variations which is important for climate change studies.