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Journal Articles Journal of Geodesy Year : 2021

Status of the International Gravity Reference System and Frame

Hartmut Wziontek
  • Function : Author
Reinhard Falk
  • Function : Author
Jaakko Mäkinen
  • Function : Author
Vojtech Pálinkás
  • Function : Author
Axel Rülke
  • Function : Author
Leonid Vitushkin
  • Function : Author


The increasing importance of terrestrial gravimetry in monitoring global change processes, in providing a reference for satellite measurements and in applications in metrology necessitates a stable reference system reflecting the measurement accuracy achievable by modern gravimeters. Therefore, over the last decade, the International Association of Geodesy (IAG) has developed a system to achieve accurate, homogeneous, long-term global recording of Earth's gravity, while taking advantage of the potential of today's absolute gravity measurements. The current status of the International Gravity Reference System and Frame is presented as worked out by the IAG Joint Working Group 2.1.1 "Establishment of a global absolute gravity reference system" during the period 2015-2019. Here, the system is defined by the instantaneous acceleration of free-fall, expressed in the International System of Units (SI) and a set of conventional corrections for the time-independent components of gravity effects. The frame as the systems realization includes a set of conventional temporal gravity corrections which represent a uniform set of minimum requirements. Measurements with absolute gravimeters, the traceability of which is ensured by comparisons and monitoring at reference stations, provide the basis of the frame. A global set of such stations providing absolute gravity values at the microgal level is the backbone of the frame. Core stations with at least one available space geodetic technique will provide a link to the terrestrial reference frame. Expanded facilities enabling instrumental verification as well as repeated regional and additional comparisons will complement key comparisons at the level of the International Committee for Weights and Measures (CIPM) and ensure a common reference and the traceability to the SI. To make the gravity reference system accessible to any user and to replace the previous IGSN71 network, an infrastructure based on absolute gravity observations needs to be built up. This requires the support of national agencies, which are encouraged to establish compatible first order gravity networks and to provide information about existing absolute gravity observations.
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insu-03669275 , version 1 (16-05-2022)




Hartmut Wziontek, Sylvain Bonvalot, Reinhard Falk, Germinal Gabalda, Jaakko Mäkinen, et al.. Status of the International Gravity Reference System and Frame. Journal of Geodesy, 2021, 95, ⟨10.1007/s00190-020-01438-9⟩. ⟨insu-03669275⟩
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