News

New research group for the evaluation of gravity field data

Artistic representation of the satellite tether GRACE-FO (figure: AIRBUS).

The German Research Foundation (DFG) establishes new research groups. These include the group "New Refined Observations of Climate Change from Spaceborne Gravity Missions (NEROGRAV)". The scientists, led by spokesperson Frank Flechtner, want to develop novel methods and modelling approaches that can be used to process data obtained from satellite missions even more precisely. Frank Flechtner is a professor at the TU Berlin and heads the section Global Geomonitoring and Gravity Field at GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences.

His work focuses on the satellite missions GRACE and GRACE-Follow On. The two missions, each with two satellites, provide data describing the Earth's gravitational field and its temporal variations. The GRACE twin satellites orbited the Earth from 2002 to 2017 (three times as long as originally planned) and GRACE-FO was successfully launched into space on 22 May 2018.

The gravity field data contribute to a deeper understanding of mass distribution and transport in the Earth system. This is important for analysing key issues in the research fields of hydrology, oceanography, glaciology, geology and climatology. The DFG decided to establish the NEROGRAV research group and nine other groups in the winter session of its Joint Committee in Bonn.

NEROGRAV will initially run for three years. The total budget for 6 individual sub-projects is approximately 1.6 million euros. The speaker is Frank Flechtner from the TU Berlin. Further project partners are Maik Thomas (Free University of Berlin), Denise Dettmering (German Geodetic Research Institute, Technical University of Munich), Henryk Dobslaw and Rolf König (GFZ Potsdam), Petra Friedrichs, Jürgen Kusche,  Andreas Hense and Michael Schindelegger (University of Bonn) as well as Roland Pail (Technical University of Munich). Frank Flechtner and Maik Thomas each head a section at the GFZ.

Scientific contact:
Prof. Dr.
Frank Flechtner
Section Head Global Geomonitoring an Gravity Field
Helmholtz Centre Potsdam
GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences
14473 Potsdam
Phone: +49 331 288-1130
Email: frank.flechtner@gfz-potsdam.de

Media contact:
Dipl.-Phys. Philipp Hummel
Referee Media and Communications
Helmholtz Centre Potsdam
GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences
Telegrafenberg
14473 Potsdam
Phone: +49 331 288-1049
Email: philipp.hummel@gfz-potsdam.de
Twitter: @gfz_potsdam

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