KlimaCampus Kolloquium: Weight-Watching from Space – tracking changes in Earth’s groundwater, glaciers, ice sheets and sea level rise in the last two decades

Earth's distribution of water - in the form of ice, snow, soil moisture, groundwater, lake and sea level - is undergoing profound changes as the climate changes over seasons to decades. The original Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission, launched in early 2002, has enabled a unique and valuable data record to study changes in our global water cycle, and allowed precise determination of sea-level rise, polar ice-cap mass loss in Greenland and Antarctica, and large-scale water storage changes over land. By measuring small month-to-month changes in Earth's gravity field, these observations provide a unique window into Earth's evolving climate and water stores, and a glimpse into possible future impacts. The twin satellites of the GRACE Follow-On mission, in operation since early 2018, continue and extend this valuable data record. I will describe the fascinating technology behind gravity measurements from space, and present some first new science findings from the new joint US-German GRACE Follow-On mission, such as the variable ice mass loss over Greenland in 2018 and 2019, and the record-low land water storage in Europe during the 2018 drought.




15:15 h


Bundesstr. 53, room 022/023
Seminar Room 022/023, Ground Floor, Bundesstrasse 53, 20146 Hamburg, Hamburg


Felix Landerer, Jet Propulsion Laboratory


Jochem Marotzke

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