GOCE scientific objectives
GOCE will be gathering data or around 20 months to map the Earth's gravity field with unprecedented accuracy and spatial resolution. The final gravity map and model of the geoid will provide users worldwide with a well-defined data product that will lead to:
- A better understanding of the physics of the Earth's interior to gain new insights into the geodynamics associated with the lithosphere, mantle composition and rheology, uplift and subduction processes.
- A better understanding of the ocean currents and heat transport.
- A global height-reference system, to serve as a reference surface to study topographic processes and sea-level change.
- Better estimates of the thickness of polar ice-sheets and their movement.
GOCE data have specific accuracy requirements for each application area. Requirements for the accuracy of geoid height and the gravity field are summarised in the table below:
(half wavelength) [km]
|Lithosphere and upper-mantle density structure||1-2||100|
|• sedimentary basins||1-2||50-100|
|• tectonic motions||1-2||100-500|
|• Seismic hazards||1||100|
|Ocean lithosphere and interaction with asthenosphere||0.5-1||100-200|
|Ice vertical movements||2||100-1000|
|Levelling by GPS||1||100-1000|
|Unification of worldwide height systems||1||100-20 000|
|Inertial Navigation System||~1-5||100-1000|
|Sea-level change||Many of the above applications are relevant to studies of sea-level change|
Last update: 26 May 2010