Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ever-changing Earth: How the atmosphere can affect planet's shape, rotation, gravitational field

Date:
March 10, 2010
Source:
Vienna University of Technology
Summary:
Researchers in Austria are investigating the effects of the Earth's atmosphere on our planet's shape, its rotation and its gravitational field. The researchers' aim is to develop a better understanding of the Earth's system and to support the development of the Global Geodetic Observing System (GGOS).

A new research project investigates how Earth's atmosphere affects our planet's shape, its rotation and its gravitational field.

Researchers at the Institute of Geodesy and Geophysics at Vienna University of Technology (TU) are investigating the effects of the Earth's atmosphere on our planet's shape, its rotation and its gravitational field.

The Earth's atmosphere is not only essential to support human life on Earth; it also affects our planet's shape, its rotation and its gravitational field. The research project "Global Geodetic Observing System (GGOS) Atmosphere" is a comprehensive and cross-disciplinary study of these complex interrelationships, financed by the Fonds zur Fφrderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (FWF) [The Austrian Science Fund]. The researchers' aim is to develop a better understanding of the Earth's system and to support the development of the Global Geodetic Observing System (GGOS).

The Earth's pulse

Many different atmospheric influences have to be taken into consideration in modern geodesy, particularly when using space-geodetic techniques. The atmosphere delays radio signals from GPS satellites as well as signals from extragalactic radio sources, which are monitored using the VLBI (Very Long Baseline Interferometry) technique. Atmospheric loads (= air pressure), e.g. during a high pressure weather system, can change the shape of the elastic Earth by up to two centimetres and can also alter the Earth's gravitational force. Data from observations of the Earth's gravitational field -- e.g. collected using special satellite missions -- must, therefore, be adjusted to account for atmospheric influences. Atmospheric processes are also a significant cause of small, but measurable fluctuations in the Earth's rotation pattern, which can be seen from polar motion and changes in length of day.

Global monitoring and networking

The atmosphere, therefore, has a significant role to play in the development of the "Global Geodetic Observing System (GGOS)" by the International Association of Geodesy (IAG), the main purpose of which is to research "Global deformation and mass movements in the Earth's system." Around the world, hundreds of geoscientists are working on the GGOS, which aims to combine and integrate the diverse geodetic and geophysical data currently being collected both on Earth and in space. As TU researcher Johannes Bφhm explains: "Only in this way will we be able to draw conclusions which are really relevant for society, like evidence for climate research or predictions for natural disasters." Precise, global reference points are essential for the Global Geodetic Observing System. Only once a stable, highly accurate and global set of fixed reference points has been established, can gradual changes, such as the movement of tectonic plates or sea level changes, be measured accurately.

Meteorological data for geodynamic parameters

The main aim of the "GGOS Atmosphere" project is to develop consistent and homogeneous models for (1) the effects of atmospheric pressure loading, (2) atmospheric angular momentum functions and (3) the coefficients of the atmosphere's gravitational potential, from a collective data set. The same meteorological parameters, including air pressure, temperature, humidity and wind speed, are used for all models. The data used is from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) and has the highest possible spatial and temporal resolution.

The effects of different ECMWF data categories and different geophysical models on the three aforementioned phenomena will be investigated. Once the most suitable categories and models have been found, the Institute of Geodesy and Geophysics will calculate the effects of atmospheric pressure loading, angular momentum functions and the coefficients of the atmosphere's gravitational potential for the entire time period for which there are space-geodetic observations. They will then make their results available to the international scientific community. The findings from this research project will increase our understanding of the Earth's system, giving us a cross-disciplinary understanding of the interrelationships between the Earth's different components (i.e. solid earth, oceans and atmosphere) as well as of the related changes to the Earth's geometry, rotation and gravitational field.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Vienna University of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Vienna University of Technology. "Ever-changing Earth: How the atmosphere can affect planet's shape, rotation, gravitational field." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100308203308.htm>.
Vienna University of Technology. (2010, March 10). Ever-changing Earth: How the atmosphere can affect planet's shape, rotation, gravitational field. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100308203308.htm
Vienna University of Technology. "Ever-changing Earth: How the atmosphere can affect planet's shape, rotation, gravitational field." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100308203308.htm (accessed August 30, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

AP (Aug. 29, 2014) — Several communities were evacuated and some international flights were diverted on Friday after one of the most active volcanos in the region erupts. (Aug. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) — State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Have Figured Out Why Rocks Move In Death Valley

Scientists Have Figured Out Why Rocks Move In Death Valley

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) — The mystery of the moving rocks in Death Valley, California, has finally been solved. Scientists are pointing to a combo of water, ice and wind. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

AP (Aug. 27, 2014) — Thundering surf spawned by Hurricane Marie pounded the Southern California coast Wednesday, causing minor flooding in a low-lying beach town. High surf warnings were posted for Los Angeles County south through Orange County. (Aug. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins