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Extending the Global Mass Change Data Record: GRACE Follow‐On Instrument and Science Data Performance

Landerer, Felix W. and Flechtner, Frank M. and Save, Himanshu and Webb, Frank H. and Bandikova, Tamara and Bertiger, William I. and Bettadpur, Srinivas V. and Byun, Sung Hun and Dahle, Christoph and Dobslaw, Henryk and Fahnestock, Eugene and Harvey, Nate and Kang, Zhigui and Kruizinga, Gerhard L. H. and Loomis, Bryant D. and McCullough, Christopher and Murböck, Michael and Nagel, Peter and Paik, Meegyeong and Pie, Nadege and Poole, Steve and Strekalov, Dmitry and Tamisiea, Mark E. and Wang, Furun and Watkins, Michael M. and Wen, Hui-Ying and Wiese, David N. and Yuan, Dah-Ning (2020) Extending the Global Mass Change Data Record: GRACE Follow‐On Instrument and Science Data Performance. Geophysical Research Letters, 47 (12). Art. no. e2020GL088306. ISSN 0094-8276. doi:10.1029/2020gl088306.

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Since June, 2018, the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) is extending the 15-year monthly mass change record of the GRACE mission, which ended in June 2017. The GRACE-FO instrument and flight system performance has improved over GRACE. Better attitude solutions and enhanced pointing performance result in reduced fuel consumption and gravity range rate post-fit residuals. One accelerometer requires additional calibrations due to unexpected measurement noise. The GRACE-FO gravity and mass change fields from June 2018 through December 2019 continue the GRACE record at an equivalent precision and spatiotemporal sampling. During this period, GRACE-FO observed large interannual terrestrial water variations associated with excess rainfall (Central US, Middle East), drought (Europe, Australia), and ice melt (Greenland). These observations are consistent with independent mass change estimates, providing high confidence that no intermission biases exist from GRACE to GRACE-FO, despite the 11-month gap. GRACE-FO has also successfully demonstrated satellite-to-satellite laser ranging interferometry.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Landerer, Felix W.0000-0003-2678-095X
Flechtner, Frank M.0000-0002-3093-5558
Save, Himanshu0000-0003-4565-9354
Bertiger, William I.0000-0001-7762-9470
Bettadpur, Srinivas V.0000-0003-3885-2228
Dahle, Christoph0000-0002-4733-9242
Dobslaw, Henryk0000-0003-1776-3314
Kruizinga, Gerhard L. H.0000-0002-9301-4692
Loomis, Bryant D.0000-0002-9370-9160
McCullough, Christopher0000-0001-7424-8349
Murböck, Michael0000-0002-4108-578X
Nagel, Peter0000-0002-1398-2985
Paik, Meegyeong0000-0002-3950-894X
Pie, Nadege0000-0001-9163-7856
Strekalov, Dmitry0000-0001-6058-7390
Watkins, Michael M.0000-0001-7524-4833
Wiese, David N.0000-0001-7035-0514
Yuan, Dah-Ning0000-0001-9047-4063
Additional Information:GRACE-FO is a partnership between NASA and the Helmholtz Centre Potsdam GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences. The twin GRACE-FO spacecraft are operated from the German Space Operations Center in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany, under a GFZ contract with the German Aerospace Center. JPL manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages JPL for NASA. This work represents research carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The preparation of the GFZ contribution to the GRACE-FO Science Data System was funded by the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) under grant 03F0654A. Part of this work described in this paper was carried out at UT-CSR under JPL Contract 1604489. The use of the facilities of the Texas Advanced Computational Center (TACC) is acknowledged. We thank Natthachet Tangdamrongsub and an anonymous reviewer for their constructive comments. Data Availability Statement. More information about GRACE-FO can be found at and at GRACE and GRACE-FO Level-1 data, Level 2 spherical harmonic gravity coefficients and the Technical Notes TN-13 and TN-14 are available at NASA's PO.DAAC (, and GFZ's ISDC ( All handbooks are available at
Group:Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, GALCIT
Funding AgencyGrant Number
GFZ German Research Centre for GeosciencesUNSPECIFIED
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)03F0654A
Issue or Number:12
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20230307-21910000.4
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:119685
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:08 Mar 2023 03:18
Last Modified:08 Mar 2023 03:18

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