A concentration of surface mass has a distinct, localized signature in Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) K-band range rate (KBRR) data. This fact is exploited in the regional solutions for mass concentration parameters (mascons) made at the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). In this paper we explore an experimental set of regionally constrained mascon blocks over Southern Africa where a system of 1.25° × 1.5° and 1.5° × 1.5° blocks has been designed. The blocks are divided into hydrological regions based on drainage patterns of the largest river basins, and are constrained in different ways. We show that the use of regional constraints, when solving mascon parameters of different hydrological regions independently, yields more detail and variation than comparable spherical harmonic solutions and mascon solutions using isotropic constraints. We validate our results over Lake Malawi with water level from altimetry. Results show that weak constraints across regions in addition to intra-regional constraints are necessary, to reach reasonable mass variations.
Krogh, P. E., Andersen, O. B., Michailovsky, C. I. B., Bauer-Gottwein, P., Rowlands, D. D., Luthcke, S. B., & Chinn, D. S. (2010). Evaluating terrestrial water storage variations from regionally constrained GRACE mascon data and hydrological models over Southern Africa – Preliminary results. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 31(14), 3899-3912. https://doi.org/10.1080/01431161.2010.483483