News of the WeekGeodesy

NOAA Project to Measure Gravity Aims to Improve Coastal Monitoring

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Science  24 Jul 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5939, pp. 378
DOI: 10.1126/science.325_378

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How high is up? The U.S. government has launched a 10-year, $38 million research project to answer that question in hopes of improving its management of coastal regions and reducing the damage from severe storms and rising sea levels. The new project is called Gravity for the Redefinition of the American Vertical Datum. The key instrument is an airborne gravimeter coupled with GPS. Placed inside NOAA's Cessna Citation II jet, the gravimeters will measure the acceleration of gravity at the same time that GPS instruments aboard NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Satellite measure the plane's vertical acceleration. Thus, equipped researchers can produce large-scale regional land and sea surveys without the inconsistencies of leveling.