GRACE Measurements of Mass Variability in the Earth System

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Science  23 Jul 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5683, pp. 503-505
DOI: 10.1126/science.1099192

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Monthly gravity field estimates made by the twin Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites have a geoid height accuracy of 2 to 3 millimeters at a spatial resolution as small as 400 kilometers. The annual cycle in the geoid variations, up to 10 millimeters in some regions, peaked predominantly in the spring and fall seasons. Geoid variations observed over South America that can be largely attributed to surface water and groundwater changes show a clear separation between the large Amazon watershed and the smaller watersheds to the north. Such observations will help hydrologists to connect processes at traditional length scales (tens of kilometers or less) to those at regional and global scales.

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