Śliwińska, J., Wińska, M., & Nastula, J. (2020). Preliminary estimation and validation of polar motion excitation from different types of the GRACE and GRACE Follow-On Missions Data. Remote Sensing, 12(21), 3490; doi: 10.3390/rs12213490.
The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission has provided global observations of temporal variations in the gravity field resulting from mass redistribution at the surface and within the Earth for the period 2002–2017. Although GRACE satellites are not able to realistically detect the second zonal parameter (ΔC20) of geopotential associated with the flattening of the Earth, they can accurately determine variations in degree-2 order-1 (ΔC21, ΔS21) coefficients that are proportional to variations in polar motion. Therefore, GRACE measurements are commonly exploited to interpret polar motion changes due to variations in the global mass redistribution, especially in the continental hydrosphere and cryosphere. Such impacts are usually examined by computing the so-called hydrological polar motion excitation (HAM) and cryospheric polar motion excitation (CAM), often analyzed together as HAM/CAM. The great success of the GRACE mission and the scientific robustness of its data contributed to the launch of its successor, GRACE Follow-On (GRACE-FO), which began in May 2018 and continues to the present. This study presents the first estimates of HAM/CAM computed from GRACE-FO data provided by three data centers: Center for Space Research (CSR), Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), and GeoForschungsZentrum (GFZ). In this paper, the data series is computed using different types of GRACE/GRACE-FO data: ΔC21, ΔS21 coefficients of geopotential, gridded terrestrial water storage anomalies, and mascon solutions. We compare and evaluate different methods of HAM/CAM estimation and examine the compatibility between CSR, JPL, and GFZ data. We also validate different HAM/CAM estimations using precise geodetic measurements and geophysical models. Analysis of data from the first 19 months of GRACE-FO shows that the consistency between GRACE-FO-based HAM/CAM and observed hydrological/cryospheric signals in polar motion is similar to the consistency obtained for the initial period of the GRACE mission, worse than the consistency received for the best GRACE period, and higher than the consistency obtained for the terminal phase of the GRACE mission. In general, the current quality of HAM/CAM from GRACE Follow-On meets expectations. In the following months, after full calibration of the instruments, this accuracy is expected to increase.