Earth Orientation and Temporal Variations of the Gravity Field

Bourda, G.
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The high accuracy now reached in the VLBI Earth Orientation Parameters (EOP) determination requires looking further at the various geophysical contributions to variations in EOP. The determination of the Earth gravity field from space geodetic techniques now allows us to obtain the temporal variations of the low degree coefficients of the geopotential, combining the treatment of different satellites (e.g. Lageos1, Lageos2, Starlette ...). We present a new computation of the degree 2 coefficients of the variable Earth gravity field. This study is based upon the using of (i) new orbit standards, (ii) the GRACE mean gravity field and (iii) Lageos1 data from 1985 until 2004 (merged with Lageos2 data from 1993). These temporal variations of the Earth gravity field can be related to the Earth Orientation Parameters through the inertia tensor. This paper shows these relations and discusses how such geodetic data can contribute to the understanding of the variations in EOP. This paper also studies if these refined 20-yr of Lageos data can give us refined value of the 18.6-yr tidal term, as well as of the secular drift of the C20 geopotential coefficient.
Astrophysics, Physics - Space Physics