Correcting GRACE gravity fields for ocean tide effects

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[1] The GRACE mission will be launch in early 2002 and will map the Earth's gravity fields and its variations with unprecedented accuracy during its 5-year lifetime. Unless ocean tide signals and their load upon the solid earth are removed from the GRACE data, their long period aliases obscure more subtle climate signals which GRACE aims at. The difference between two existing ocean tide models can be used as an estimate of current tidal model error for the M-2,S-2,K-1, and O-1 constituents. When compared with the expected accuracy of the GRACE system, both expressed as spherical harmonic degree variances, we find that the current ocean tide models are not accurate enough to correct GRACE data at harmonic degrees lower that 35. The accumulated tidal errors may affect the GRACE data up to harmonic degree 56. Furthermore, the atmospheric (radiation) tides may cause significant errors in the ocean tide model if altimetry corrected for inverted barometer effects was used in its derivation. To study the temporal characteristics of the ocean tidal constituents when sampled by GRACE, approximate alias frequencies were derived assuming a sampling of half a sidereal day. Those results show that the ocean tide errors will not cancel in the GRACE monthly averaged temporal gravity fields. The S-2 and the K-2 terms have alias frequencies much longer than 30 days, so they remain almost unreduced in the monthly averages.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)19-1-4
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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