For the past three decades, it has been possible to measure the earth's static gravity from satellites. Such measurements have been used to address many important scientific problems, including the earth's internal structure, and geologically slow processes like mantle convection. In principle, it is possible to resolve the time-varying component of the gravity field by improving the accuracy of satellite gravity measurements.
These temporal variations are caused by dynamic processes that change the mass distribution in the earth, oceans, and atmosphere. Acquisition of improved time-varying gravity data would open a new class of important scientific problems to analysis, including crustal motions associated with earthquakes and changes in groundwater levels, ice dynamics, sea-level changes, and atmospheric and oceanic circulation patterns.
This book evaluates the potential for using satellite technologies to measure the time-varying component of the gravity field and assess the utility of these data for addressing problems of interest to the earth sciences, natural hazards, and resource communities.
National Research Council. Satellite Gravity and the Geosphere: Contributions to the Study of the Solid Earth and Its Fluid Envelopes. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 1997.
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