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Colloquium – David Wiese, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory CIT
Seminar jointly organized with MAE.
Chasing Water: Tracking changes in Earth’s water cycle from space
The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), launched in 2002, provided pioneering observations of changes in surface mass on our planet by measuring variations in the gravitational potential of Earth. These observations quantified, for the first time, the mass balance of the ice sheets, the mass component of sea level change, glacier mass change worldwide, and identified regions of rapid groundwater depletion, raising concern for future regional water security. The GRACE mission was decommissioned in 2017 due to battery failure; however, GRACE Follow-On (GRACE-FO) launched in 2018 and is now successfully continuing observations of Earth system mass change. Further, the 2017 U.S. Earth Science and Applications from Space Decadal Survey listed Mass Change as a Designated Observable, paving the way for a future mission after GRACE-FO. In this talk, I will provide an overview of the measurement system characteristics and scientific highlights from the GRACE and GRACE-FO missions. I will also discuss current efforts underway both in the United States and Europe to develop observing systems that will continue the timeseries of surface mass change into the future beyond the lifetime of GRACE-FO, and have the potential to advance knowledge of surface mass change through improved spatio-temporal sampling characteristics and instrumentation.
Host: Pep Sanjuan (Physics), John Conklin (MAE)