Mapping Earth’s Gravity

By on 1 January, 1970


 

A new model of the Earth’s gravitational field may help climate change researchers and geophysicists better understand our planet.

The detailed model is based on the European Space Agency’s GOCE satellite data. The satellite, which was launched in 2009, flies at a low altitude of  254.9 km. The low orbit makes the satellite more susceptible to the pull of gravity, which enables it to detect tiny changes in the Earth’s gravitational field. It takes the satellite around two months to scan the entire planet.

The initial map, which is based on two months of data, illustrates the varying strength of gravity. Blue indicates weak areas, green is average and orange is strong. The deviations occur because the Earth isn’t entirely spherical, which means that the gravity isn’t equal across the planet.

The map offers earth science researchers with an array of new information. For example, details on how the Earth’s gravity impacts ocean currents are useful for climate change research.

“The computed global gravity field looks very promising. We can already see that important new information will be obtained for large areas of South America, Africa, Himalaya, South-East Asia and Antarctica. Over continents, and in particular in regions poorly mapped with terrestrial or airborne techniques, we can already conclude that GOCE is changing our understanding of the gravity field,” Reiner Rummel, chairman of the GOCE mission advisory group, said.

You may also like to read:


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply


Newsletter

Sign up now to stay up to date about all the news from Spatial Source. You will get a newsletter every week with the latest news.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
New basemap options coming for NSW
DCS Spatial Services is releasing new basemaps with a range ...
Vendor focus: Anditi
In the lead up to Locate22 in May, we’re highlighting some...
Make sure you don’t miss Locate22
Here’s a preview of what you’ll see, learn and experienc...
CASA drafts 10-year safety roadmap for drones
The roadmap aims to provide a plan to integrate drones into ...
Maxar invests in analytics firm, Blackshark.ai
The investment will enable Maxar to bring more 3D capabiliti...