Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) data are a valuable source of information for estimating hydrological mass changes. Several approaches have been conducted to investigate surface density changes from satellite-based observations. The traditional approaches are mainly based on the Stokes coefficients, related to a spherical harmonic representation of the gravitational potential. This study aims to develop an alternative method to estimate the temporal variations in water storage. It is based on a specific type of mascon technique that investigates the possibility of obtaining a solution without Stokes coefficients. The method uses a piecewise constant surface density function to estimate surface density changes based on the GRACE satellite-to-satellite tracking (SST) data. The surface density changes are directly obtained from the variations in positions and velocities of the two GRACE satellites. We therefore avoid the series truncation and aim to improve the leakage problem at the price of higher numerical burden. The proposed method is numerically tested on synthetic data similar to level-1 GRACE data for a period of one month. Two regularization methods, the well-known Tikhonov solution and a method that accounts for the areas of different patches, are employed to obtain a stable solution. The accuracy assessment over the Greenland area indicates that the estimated values are reliable and statistically significant, a further confirmation of the efficacy and stability of the method.
Volume 130, 2021
Continuous Article Publishing mode
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