C06 - Atmosphere-Ocean Background Modelling for Terrestrial Gravimetry

We will focus on the development of global background models of atmosphere and ocean dynamics that are applicable to gravity records taken anywhere at the Earth’s surface. The background models will be split into

  • deformation effects that also consider the laterally heterogeneous rheology of the Earth’s crust;
  • regional-to-global attraction effects of both atmospheric and oceanic mass variability along the strategy outlined by; and
  • the local effects from the direct vicinity of the sensor that are most sensible to the local topographic roughness and that might benefit most from a possible augmentation with barometric observations taken around the gravity sensor.

We will also consider the requirements on geophysical signal separation of any new technology developed in TerraQ sensitive to time-variable gravity changes (e.g., clock comparisons via optical fibres over large distances; new satellite concepts; VLBAI) and provide prototype correction models for atmospheric effects in those measurements as well. Specific attention will be paid to the long-term consistency of the background models to allow for the low-frequency signal separation over many decades.

© Timmen
Highly accurate continuous observations of gravimetric tides on Helgoland are sensitive to oceanic loading of the sea floor as well as to atmospheric pressure forces. The sketch demonstrates the deforming Earth’s crust caused by loading of temporal air mass (pressure) variations and sea mass changes (tides, storm surge) observable locally with terrestrial instruments as well as regionally with the satellite mission GRACE-FO.


  1. Time-variable atmosphere-ocean background models for terrestrial gravimetry 
  2. Background models will be consistent with the GRACE de-facto standard AOD1B 
  3. Prototype atmospheric background models for all new technologies of TerraQ


Principal Investigators

Dr. Henryk Dobslaw
Dr. Henryk Dobslaw
Dr.-Ing. Ludger Timmen
Dr.-Ing. Ludger Timmen

Early Career Researchers

Dr. Kyriakos Balidakis
Dr. Kyriakos Balidakis


Kitpracha C, Nilsson T, Heinkelmann R, Balidakis K, Modiri S, Schuh H. The impact of estimating common tropospheric parameters for co-located VLBI radio telescopes on geodetic parameters during CONT17. Advances in space research. 2022 May 1;69(9):3227-3235. doi.org/10.1016/j.asr.2022.02.013

Raut S, Heinkelmann R, Modiri S, Belda S, Balidakis K, Schuh H. Inter-Comparison of UT1-UTC from 24-Hour, Intensives, and VGOS Sessions during CONT17. Sensors. 2022 Apr 2;22(7). 2740. doi.org/10.3390/s22072740

Sulzbach R, Wziontek H, Hart-davis M, Dobslaw H, Scherneck H, Van Camp M et al. Modeling gravimetric signatures of third-degree ocean tides and their detection in superconducting gravimeter records. Journal of geodesy. 2022 Apr 30;96(5). 35. doi.org/10.1007/s00190-022-01609-w

Wang J, Balidakis K, Zus F, Chang X, Ge M, Heinkelmann R et al. Improving the Vertical Modeling of Tropospheric Delay. Geophysical research letters. 2022 Mar 16;49(5). e2021GL096732. doi.org/10.1029/2021GL096732

Wang J, Ge M, Glaser S, Balidakis K, Heinkelmann R, Schuh H. Improving VLBI analysis by tropospheric ties in GNSS and VLBI integrated processing. Journal of geodesy. 2022 Apr 26;96(4). 32. doi.org/10.1007/s00190-022-01615-y

Schuh H, Heinkelmann R, Beyerle G, Anderson JM, Balidakis K, Belda S et al. The Potsdam Open Source Radio Interferometry Tool (PORT). Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. 2021 Oct 19;133(1028). 104503. doi.org/10.1088/1538-3873/ac299c